CDC highlights camps’ efforts to safely open amid pandemic

Posted at 6:25 PM, Aug 28, 2020

Summer camps have been among a number of spots that have been known as “super spreaders” of the coronavirus,” locations where dozens or even hundreds of infections have spread.

While there is an inherent risk with holding camps amid the coronavirus pandemic, the CDC says with proper precautions, the risk can be minimized.

This week, the CDC outlined efforts by four summer camps in Maine held over the summer. The camps combined for more than 1,000 attendees coming from 41 states or territories. The result was a success, with only three known asymptomatic cases of the virus stemming from the camps.

Testing played a key role in minimizing the risk. The attendees were tested days before coming to the camp. Of 1,022 attendees, four tested positive, which delayed their arrival. Attendees were also told to isolate in the days leading up to their arrival.

Once at the camp, attendees were frequently checked for symptoms. During the camp, 12 people were isolated at times due to presenting symptoms, but all tested negative for the coronavirus. There were also three cases identified during the camps among asymptomatic attendees, two of whom were staffers. The three attendees were isolated for 10 days and not cleared until receiving two negative tests.

“Thoughtful and prudent public health practices used during overnight summer camps in Maine reinforces how powerful everyday preventive actions are in reducing and keeping COVID-19 transmission low,” CDC director Robert Redfield. “Despite more than 1,000 campers and staff from nearly every state and seven countries, only three people tested positive for COVID-19 during the camp and no additional campers or staff were known to be infected. Using a combination of proven public health strategies to slow the spread of COVID-19, campers and staff were able to enjoy a traditional summer pastime amid a global pandemic.”

To read more about how the camps avoided an outbreak of the coronavirus, click here.