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Two church camps, public elementary summer school closed due to COVID-19 in Avery County

Flashing signs have been placed across the county, reminding people that the coronavirus is still around and people should not let their guard down.
Published: Jul. 22, 2021 at 6:18 PM EDT
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NEWLAND, N.C. (WBTV) - County Manager Phillip Barrier says Monday was a bad day regarding COVID-19 in Avery County.

“12 cases in 24 hours, that’s kind of alarming,” he said.

Avery County has been in good shape case-wise for a while, he says. Only 13 positive COVID-19 cases in all of June.

What made Monday’s total worse, he said, was where the cases were found: One child and five adults at a church summer camp, five more adults at a second church camp, and a child at the elementary summer school program in Newland.

None are connected, they think.

Officials immediately moved to take care of the cases and closed the programs at least temporarily. It meant 141 children at the summer camps were sent home and 60 students at Newland Elementary had to put studies on hold.

“We did this just to be on the safe side,” said principal Monet Samuelson.

None of the cases appear serious, say officials, as no one is hospitalized.

Barrier said he believes two of the adults who tested positive had been vaccinated and they are still waiting on word to see if the cases involve the Delta variant.

The church camps, which were not named by the county, will have to stay closed for two weeks because they had outbreaks.

The summer school, however, could re-open soon. Cleaning crews have been busy all week, says Samuelson, and if everything stays as it is without any new cases they expect to be back on Monday.

In the meantime, flashing signs have been placed across the county, reminding people that the coronavirus is still around and people should not let their guard down.

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