Earlier this week, health officials in Missouri announced that a coronavirus outbreak at a summer camp has infected over 80 children and staff who have tested positive for the virus. As such, the camp has closed down operations for the rest of the term.
The Stone County Health Department (SCHD) announced in a Facebook post on Monday, July 6, that 82 campers, counselors, and staff at Kanakuk Kamp, an overnight Christian sports camp, in Lampe, Missouri have tested positive for COVID-19. Ahead of this announcement, health official had reported 41 positive cases from the summer camp on July 2 — four days later the number jumped to 82.
"All 82 positive cases were from the Kanakuk K-2 camp in Lampe," SCHD wrote on Facebook. "Many of these cases returned to their place of residence and then tested positive. 31 were tested onsite at Kanakuk K-2 camp." According to the health department, staff members and campers had come from 10 states as well as several areas of Missouri and Kanakuk Kamp's websites notes that the K-2 camp welcomed kids between the ages of 13 to 18 years old.
"Kanakuk is working with SCHD and made the decision to shut down the K-2 camp for this term after being alerted to the suspected COVID-19 case. The decision to close has resulted in all campers, counselors and staff to return to their homes," the SCHD wrote on Facebook. "SCHD will be working closely with Kanakuk Kamps to identify exposed individuals and quarantine those individuals, as necessary."
In an email obtained by NBC News, Kanakuk's health services director reportedly advised parents whose children came home from the Kanakuk K-2 camp last week to self-quarantine their children. "As your Kamper returns home, we recommend that you consider a 14-day self-quarantine for your child and monitor for symptoms of COVID-19," the email to parents reportedly said, according to NBC News.
While this outbreak is a serious one, Missouri Department of Health Director Dr. Randall Williams told ABC News that summer camps across the state would remain open. "We think school is incredibly important to kids. We also think camps are important," Williams told he news outlet.
Kanakuk's coronavirus outbreak was by no means an isolated incident in summer camps across the country. According to KETK, dozens of campers who attended Pine Cove's Christian summer camps in Texas tested positive for the coronavirus. Two YMCA camps closed in Georgia after a counselor tested positive, as WSBTV Atlanta reported.
If you think you’re showing symptoms of coronavirus, which include fever, shortness of breath, and cough, call your doctor before going to get tested. If you’re anxious about the virus’s spread in your community, visit the CDC for up-to-date information and resources, or seek out mental health support. You can find all of Romper’s parents + coronavirus coverage here.