A COVID-19 outbreak has forced a Christian sleepaway camp in Missouri to shut down after dozens of staff, campers and counselors tested positive for the coronavirus.
The Kanakuk K-2 camp in Lampe, just north of the Arkansas border, closed after 41 campers, counselors and staff became infected with the coronavirus, the Stone County Health Department announced last week.
Four days later, local health officials said the number of infections had doubled, to 82. Many of those who tested positive had already left the camp and returned home, with cases in at least 10 states and to multiple counties in Missouri.
At least one case is in Stone County, where the camp is located.
“The decision to close has resulted in all campers, counselors and staff to return to their homes. [The Stone County Health Department] will be working closely with Kanakuk Kamps to identify exposed individuals and quarantine those individuals, as necessary,” the county said in a Facebook post.
Kanakuk Kamps did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
According to its website, the K-2 camp — a program for 13- to 18-year-olds offering two- and four-week stays — is one of at least six operated by Kanakuk. “Since 1926, Kanakuk has been the Christian summer camp for over 450,000 youth,” the site says.
Kanakuk says it introduced multiple measures and procedures to prevent the spread of the coronavirus ahead of its 2020 season, which began May 30. These included a health screening, temperature checks and a two-week self-quarantine for campers before arrival.
It’s unclear whether the outbreak at the K-2 camp will affect operations at Kanakuk’s other programs. In reporting the initial infections on July 2, Stone County said that five other programs underway had not reported any positive tests.
NBC News reports that parents were notified by email that their children may have been exposed to the virus, with a recommendation that “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.”