"Additionally, hundreds more were exposed to COVID-19 at camp," Clear Creek Community Church Pastor Bruce Wesley wrote in a statement after more than 125 campers tested positive

July 07, 2021
Clear Creek Community Church
Google Maps
| Credit: Google Maps

A church camp in Galveston, Texas has been linked to more than 125 COVID-19 cases.

More than 400 youth and adults participated in Camp Creek in late June, a student ministry camp for sixth through 12th grade kids at Clear Creek Community Church, according to a statement from the church.

"Unfortunately, upon return from camp, 125+ campers and adults reported to us that they tested positive for COVID-19," Lead Pastor Bruce Wesley wrote in the statement.

"Additionally, hundreds more were exposed to COVID-19 at camp," he added. "And hundreds of others were likely exposed when infected people returned home from camp. We seek to remain in contact with those impacted. If you, or someone in your family, begins to have symptoms, please seek medical attention immediately."

In cooperation with Galveston County Health District (GCHD), Clear Creek has cancelled upcoming church services, and they anticipate returning on Sunday, July 11.

According to GCHD, 57 Galveston County youth and adults have tested positive for COVID-19, with 10 of the cases being in those aged 12 and younger. Of those reported, the Delta variant was identified in three test samples, and six were breakthrough cases, meaning they became infected more than 14 days after being fully vaccinated.

"The Delta variant is highly contagious, more so than other strains. And people who are unvaccinated are at most risk," says Dr. Philip Keiser, Galveston County local health authority, in a statement.

"I cannot stress enough – there is no reason to not get vaccinated if you're old enough. There are plenty of vaccines available," Keiser continues. "In this outbreak, at least as of now, it appears most of the people who have tested positive are old enough to be vaccinated. These vaccines are safe, effective and they offer the best protection against COVID-19 to you, your family and your community."

The GCHD also noted that more than 90 positive COVID tests were reported in non-Galveston County residents who attended the church camp.

Clear Creek began a five-phase reopening plan after the COVID-19 pandemic began last March, transitioning from online services to small group gatherings (10 people or less) in May 2020. They've since started allowing slightly larger gatherings, lifting their mandatory social distancing seating this April, before making face masks optional in May.

"From the beginning of the pandemic, we have sought to love our neighbors by practicing strict safety protocols," Wesley wrote. "We are surprised and saddened by this turn of events. Our hearts break for those infected with the virus. Please pray for a speedy and complete recovery for all of those affected."

The church did not immediately respond to PEOPLE's request for comment about whether proof of vaccination was required for campers or if COVID tests or temperature checks were implemented.

As of July 5, the GCHD reported 425 active COVID-19 cases. The county's number of positive COVID tests has increased by 11.7% over the past month.

The information in this story is accurate as of press time. However, as the situation surrounding COVID-19 continues to evolve, it's possible that some data have changed since publication. While Health is trying to keep our stories as up-to-date as possible, we also encourage readers to stay informed on news and recommendations for their own communities by using the CDCWHO, and their local public health department as resources.

To get our top stories delivered to your inbox, sign up for the Healthy Living newsletter

This story originally appeared on people.com