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A summer camp run by a Christian group in Missouri has shut down after more than 80 children and staffers tested positive for the coronavirus, health officials said.
Organizers of the Kanakuk K-2 camp in Lampe in the state’s southwest near the Arkansas border made the decision to shut down last week due to a number of suspected cases, according to the Stone County Health Department.
On July 2, health officials said at least 41 campers and staff had tested positive. By Monday, that number had doubled to 82.
Health officials said the children were returning to their homes in 10 different states, as well as multiple Missouri counties.
“The decision to close has resulted in all campers, counselors and staff to return to their homes,” they said on Facebook. “SCHD will be working closely with Kanakuk Kamps to identify exposed individuals and quarantine those individuals, as necessary.”
Per the camp’s website, the shuttered camp had welcomed teens ages 13–18 for up to four weeks of “over-the-top fun and activities, deep friendships, biblical discipleship, and focused sports training.”
According to NBC News, which earlier reported the cluster, parents were notified of the camp closure via email last week. “As your Kamper returns home,” Kanakuk health services director Rebecca Duncan reportedly wrote to parents, “we recommend that you consider a 14-day self-quarantine for your child and monitor for symptoms of COVID-19.”
Staff at Kanakuk, which operates at least seven different camps, did not respond to requests for comment from BuzzFeed News. The camp has also made no mention of the outbreak on their social media channels, instead continuing to share images of happy campers enjoying outdoor activities.
The news comes as President Donald Trump is calling on schools to reopen in the fall semester for in-person classes, while state officials consider how to continue limit contact.
Across the US, summer camps have been taking differing actions in response to the coronavirus pandemic, with some opting to close for the year, and others, like Kanakuk, hoping to remain open.
On their website, Kanakuk had sought to comfort parents looking to send their children off for some summer fun after months of being cooped up due to the coronavirus pandemic.
As part of more than 30 measures being taken to prevent an outbreak, staff were said to have installed “medical-grade air filtration systems” and hand sanitizers in each cabin, while requiring the campers to sleep head-to-foot.
Parents also had to complete a form asserting that their child had self-quarantined for 14 days prior to heading off for camp.