CHARLOTTE (QUEEN CITY NEWS) — One Mecklenburg County child died, and another was hospitalized from strep throat in the month of May. Health officials say there has been an increase in infections from invasive Group A Streptococcal in North Carolina and nationwide. 

There have been 62 invasive GAS cases reported in pediatric patients since October of 2022 in North Carolina. On average, for the past three years, there have been 15 pediatric cases. 

Since October 2022, three children died from GAS, one Mecklenburg County resident, one in Western NC and one in Eastern NC. 

The YMCA of Greater Charlotte is expecting at least 8,000 kids at 14 camp locations for the summer. The team is working hard to get the kids in while keeping the germs out. 

Adrianne Hobbs, Senior VP of Youth Development for YMCA says the team will be using the lessons they learned during COVID to keep kids healthy. 

“From going through, that we’ve kept so many of our procedures in place so that as strep comes along, or anything that might be impacting our youth, we’re ready for it,” Hobbs said. “We’ll continue to take the advice of our health department and our staff here at the Y who helped us to maintain safe spaces, and we’ll make our adjustments.” 

Hobbs says the camp staff will stay vigilant to help keep kids healthy. 

“We are confident in our cleaning procedures that we have in place. We have outdoor time also the fresh air to have our campers in always helps as well. We do our best to do what we can to maintain that safe environment,” Hobbs said.  

Hobbs added the camps still have a limited number of spaces open for kids. There are also camp counselor positions open. 

Health officials say GAS is spread through direct contact with mucus from a sick person or infected wounds or sores on the skin.  

Most people have mild symptoms, but if the bacteria gets in the blood, muscle or lungs it could be a severe case. 

Health officials say washing your hands for 20 seconds with soap and water kills the bacteria.