At least 17 high school students in Ohio have tested positive for coronavirus after a recent trip to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, Robert Sproul, deputy health commissioner of the Belmont County Health Department, tells CNN.
“We were told that 91 students from the Ohio Valley (West Virginia and Ohio) went to Myrtle Beach and returned to the Valley the weekend of the 13-14. Of that group we are being told 45 were Belmont County residents from multiple school districts. This was not a school sanctioned event,” Sproul said.
As of Tuesday afternoon, the Belmont Health Department confirms 17 positive cases and two contact positives, but Sproul expects that number to increase as more people who went on the trip and the individuals they were exposed to get tested for the virus.
“We’re worried our numbers are going to be creeping up,” he said, adding none of the students have been hospitalized and all are quarantining at home while health officials conduct contact tracing to identify where the students were and who they were with. Contact tracers check in with coronavirus-positive individuals on a daily basis, he added.
Before this spike in cases, Belmont County had reduced infection rates to zero, Sproul said, attributing the county’s then-success to residents taking state-imposed restrictions seriously.
“Maybe reconsider your destination,” he cautions future travelers. “If you’re going to a hotspot and not taking precautions you’re asking for trouble … it could happen in your town”