Students bring COVID-19 back from Myrtle Beach trips

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Students who recently traveled to Myrtle Beach brought COVID-19 back to West Virginia and Ohio, health officials say. A total of 91 students traveled from several counties in those states to the South Carolina destination, and of those, 45 were from Ohio’s Belmont County, the county’s deputy health commissioner, Rob Sproul told CBS News.

Sproul said Tuesday that so far, 16 of those 45 travelers have tested positive for COVID-19. One other person, a close contact of a traveler, has also tested positive, and others are being tested.

The 16 students come from multiple high schools in Belmont County, including Bellaire High School and Shady Side High School, Sproul told CBS News. The two schools have now suspended all sports activities, which were set to resume on Monday when the state entered Phase 2 of reopening after lockdown, Sproul said.

“It’s a rite of passage – but this year the kids came home with more than sand in their shorts — they got COVID 19,” Bellaire Schools Superintendent Darren Jenkins told CBS affiliate WTRF-TV on Monday. He said the schools will be deep cleaned and sanitized, and activities will only be resumed when everyone is out of quarantine.

Students who recently traveled from Myrtle Beach to West Virginia are also linked to a new outbreak there. On Monday, the state’s Preston County counted four additional cases that appeared to be related to the outbreak, bringing the total number of positive cases involved in the outbreak to 30, the Preston County Health Department said in a statement to CBS News on Tuesday.

“We can now also confirm community transmission in Preston County related to the outbreak,” the statement reads. “This means individuals that were exposed to confirmed positives after return from Myrtle Beach have now tested positive for COVID-19.”

West Virginia’s Kanawha County and Cabell County were also affected, CBS affiliate WHSV-TV reported last week. As of June 18, the Myrtle Beach trips were connected to at least three cases in Kanawha County and at least five in Cabell County, local officials said, according to WHSV.

CBS News has reached out to health officials in each county for updated information on the number cases.

South Carolina has had more than 25,000 confirmed coronavirus cases so far, according to the state’s health department. Several days ago, on June 19, the state saw its highest single-day jump in cases yet: 1,161 new cases.

West Virginia has reported a total of 2,582 confirmed coronavirus cases, while Ohio reported 42,254 as of Tuesday, according to the states’ health departments.

Officials in Pennsylvania’s nearby Allegheny County have since warned residents about travel during the coronavirus pandemic. “Going on vacation where you’re going to be in a hugely crowded area is probably not the best thing to do. If you are going to do that, it makes sense to quarantine yourself when you return to Pennsylvania,” Dr. Arvind Venkat, emergency physician with Allegheny Health Network, told CBS Pittsburgh.

Just because the increase in cases in Pennsylvania have been relatively low compared to other states, doesn’t mean residents should take the drop in COVID-19 cases for granted, Venkat said. He said it’s now up to the citizens to control the spread of the virus, adding that travelers should continue to follow health and safety precautions while on vacation.

Pennsylvania has 82,186 confirmed coronavirus cases, according to the state’s health department.

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