lake james sandbar

This screen grab from a video posted on YouTube shows part of the crowd gathered on the Fourth of July on the Lake James sandbar on the first basin of the lake. The sandbar and main beach at Pokagon State Park were shown as examples of large gatherings of people that could be leading to more younger people contracting COVID-19 that aired on Good Morning America on ABC.

LAKE JAMES — Lake James and the Main Beach at Pokagon State Park were featured in a news story that aired over the weekend on ABC’s Good Morning America about young people contributing to a rise in COVID-19 cases.

This rise, the story said, is due in part to the apparent lack of mask wearing and social distancing measures being taken during large, outdoor gatherings.

The news story has circulated on social media sites such as Facebook since it aired — it was dated Sunday — and people have had mixed reactions in the comments sections.

The Lake James area wasn’t the only area pointed out in the video, either, as places around the country including Lake Minnetonka, Minnesota, were also mentioned and shown with a heavy presence of people partying in close proximity on the water.

In the story is a segment from Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease, saying the majority of people now becoming infected are “young people.”

On the Lake James Sandbar Fans page on Facebook, many people had negative responses to the story.

On the Good Morning America Facebook page, comments often said things about how young people don’t believe the virus matters because they probably won’t be affected, won’t die from it or won’t pass it on. Comments also called social distancing and mask wearing common sense things that should be happening but aren’t.

Alicia van Ee, chief environmental health specialist with the Steuben County Health Department, said if there have been spikes in cases from people congregating at the Lake James sandbar, it is very likely those cases are showing up in other counties because Steuben has not had a surge in recent weeks.

In fact, with the exception of a spike in early May from Miller Poultry, where many of the positive cases were from asymptomatic employees at the plant, case counts have been rather moderate in Steuben County.

There were no new cases reported on Monday and the county stood at 124 cases. Van Ee said that will probably change in the coming days because testing was at a halt over the weekend.

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