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At least 17 high school students test positive for coronavirus after a trip to Myrtle Beach

June 23, 2020. Summarized by summa-bot.

At least 17 high school students in Ohio have tested positive for coronavirus after a recent trip to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.

(CNN)At least 17 Ohio high school students tested positive for coronavirus after a recent trip to Myrtle Beach, when they returned to a county that had previously reduced infection rates to zero.

Robert Sproul, Deputy Health Commissioner of the Belmont County Health Department, tells CNN that nearly 100 students from the Ohio Valley traveled to the South Carolina town and returned the weekend of June 13.

As of Tuesday afternoon, the Belmont Health Department confirmed the 17 positive cases as well as two contact positives -- people who were exposed to the students that went on the trip and tested positive.

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.

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.

"We've been quarantined for so long, the state had a travel ban in place, and our numbers were weakened," he said and described earlier Covid-19 patients as "elderly" whereas county health officials say the youngest person on the trip to Myrtle Beach was 16.

We just hoped they would be responsible with social distancing and wearing masks," Sproul said, acknowledging high school seniors in the area usually go to Myrtle Beach for vacation each year.

More tests are being conducted on students and their contacts as officials await results.

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