At least 82 campers, counselors and staff at a summer camp in southwestern Missouri have been infected with COVID-19, according to state health officials.
Kanakuk Kamps, a network of Christian sports camps in the state, reopened their camps to thousands of kids beginning in May. Kanakuk chose to reopen after Missouri leaders said that there was a risk in letting camps reopen, but that they were confident that the camps had made plans to stop any potential COVID-19 outbreaks from happening.
Parents of Kanakuk campers were recently notified by email that one of the camps known as K-2, in Lampe, was temporarily shutting down after staff and campers contracted coronavirus.
Per a report from NBC News, parents received an email last week from Rebecca Duncan, Kanakuk's health services director, advising them that their children may have been exposed.
"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 read according to the report.
The organization — which prides itself on having more than 90 years of experience in summer camping — holds six overnight and day camps across the state with around 20,000 campers a summer, according to its website.
The Stone County Health Department updated the community on Facebook on Monday, writing that 82 campers, counselors and staff members had tested positive for coronavirus, an increase from the 41 that were initially reported.
"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 cases," the message read.
"The decision to close has resulted in all campers, counselors and staff to return to their homes. SCHD will be working closely with Kanakuk Kamps to identify exposed individuals and quarantine those individuals, as necessary," they added.
But Kanakuk Kamps situation isn't an isolated one, as numerous camps across the nation have opened and then closed after kids and staff contracted COVID-19, the Associated Press reported.
Despite the outbreak at the Missouri camp, the state has not changed their guidance for operating during the pandemic.
Dr. Randall Williams, director of the Missouri Department of Health, said Monday that his agency had no plans to shut down summer camps in the wake of the Missouri outbreak.
“We think school is incredibly important to kids. We also think camps are important,” he shared.
Williams also added that the camp location with the outbreak plans to reopen later this summer after testing all of the staff members
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