GRAPEVINE, Texas (AP/RNS) — Hundreds of campers may have been exposed to COVID-19 after attending a Christian camp hosted by Fellowship Church, an evangelical megachurch in Grapevine. The church’s Allaso Ranch retreat center, located near Dallas-Fort Worth, has been welcoming campers of various ages this summer since June 13.
The Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports that at least three campers who attended camps at Allaso Ranch in the previous two weeks have tested positive for coronavirus, with one child hospitalized.
The paper also claims Fellowship “has not been forthright about the spread of coronavirus among attendees.” The church issued a statement to Baptist Press disputing this claim.
“If a camper had symptoms or was in close contact with another who did, we followed all CDC guidelines and the standards laid out by Texas Health and Human Services and personally called parents,” a Fellowship Church spokesperson said in the statement. “We continue to care for, call and stay connected with all families that attended camp.”
The spokesperson did not respond to a follow-up query from Baptist Press.
One parent whose daughter tested positive after attending Allaso Ranch in early July told the Star-Telegram that she’d heard of at least 80 other campers who tested positive for the virus. The parent also reported that more than 200 children attended the camp the week of July 5, and at least 140 came the next week.
An Instagram post from July 13 shows hundreds of maskless campers crowded together singing in Allaso Ranch’s indoor auditorium, worshiping mosh-pit style. Other photos depict children close together without masks in an outdoor pool area.