Summer Camp Hosted 1,000 Visitors While Successfully Managing Coronavirus

By Vishwadha Chander | August 26, 2020

Four overnight camps in Maine successfully stemmed the spread of the novel coronavirus and conducted sessions with over 1,000 attendees from 41 states and international locations this summer, according to a new report published on Wednesday.

The findings in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report contrasted with that of an overnight camp in Georgia, where the disease reportedly spread to at least 44% of staff and attendees.

All Maine camp attendees for the season between June and August were asked to quarantine with families for 10–14 days before arrival, and camps advised members to arrive in a family vehicle.

About a week before arrival, the attendees were tested for the coronavirus, and three of the four camps mandated submission of these results before entry.

Notes from the study, Preventing and Mitigating SARS-CoV-2 Transmission — Four Overnight Camps, Maine, June–August 2020:

  • During June–August, the combined attendance of the four camps included 642 children and 380 staff members, aged 7–70 years, from 41 states with a variety of 7-day average rate of SARS-CoV-2 infection; 1.8% of camp attendees (10 staff members and eight campers) came from six international locations.
  • Camp sessions ranged from 44 to 62 days (including a 14-day staff member orientation) during June 15–August 16, 2020. The number of campers in cabins (including dormitory-style quarters) ranged from five to 44 campers.

To address exposure during travel, all camps quarantined attendees by groups for 14 days after arrival.

At camp, members were screened for symptoms daily, divided into smaller groups, asked to wear masks and to observe enhanced hygiene measures, among other steps.

Camps limited indoor activities, staggered bathroom use and dining timings, and limited sports to those that allowed for physical distancing. Personal sports equipment and shared items were disinfected immediately after use.

The study did not measure how well campers and staff adhered to precautions, and did not test all members at the end of sessions who might have been asymptomatic, the researchers said.

Still, the low rate of transmission shows that such interventions might be effective at reducing the rate of spread of the virus for at least some time at overnight camps, residential schools, and colleges, researchers said.

(Reporting by Vishwadha Chander, Additional reporting by Dania Nadeem in Bengaluru Editing by Bernadette Baum)

Source article: Blaisdell LL, Cohn W, Pavell JR, Rubin DS, Vergales JE. Preventing and Mitigating SARS-CoV-2 Transmission — Four Overnight Camps, Maine, June–August 2020. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. ePub: 26 August 2020.

Photo: In this Thursday, June 4, 2020 photo, a slide on a floating dock is parked near the shore of Echo Lake at the the Camp Winnebago summer camp, in Fayette, Maine. The boys camp went ahead with plans to open with a reduction in the number of campers and other changes to comply with guidelines for helping prevent the spread of the coronavirus. Many of the nation’s 15,000-plus summer camps opting to close because of health concerns surrounding the pandemic, or because of delays in receiving rules or guidelines from licensing officials. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty)

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