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Despite enforcing health and safety measures like social distancing, masks and mandatory quarantines before arrival summer camps in Missouri, Texas, Georgia and Arkansas have recently reported outbreaks after opening this summer.
In Missouri, 82 counselors, campers and staff have tested positive for COVID-19 at the Kanakuk K-2 camp in Lampe, the Stone County Health Department announced on Monday. The network of Christian sports camps claims to draw more than 23,000 kids each year. Parents reportedly learned via email that the K-2 site was shutting down because of COVID-19, according to NBC News.
Although camps in Missouri must report any positive cases to the state, Dr. Randall Williams, director of the Missouri Department of Health, said on Monday that the agency had no plans to shut down summer camps following the Kanakuk outbreak.
“We think school is incredibly important to kids," Williams said. "We also think camps are important.”
What’s more, the camp plans to reopen later this summer once test results from all employees return and show it’s safe to do so, he added.
Kanakuk Kamp is hardly alone in battling an outbreak, however.
In Texas, at least 76 cases of COVID-19 were linked to the Pine Cove camp’s overnight camp for teens near Columbus. Dozens of campers and staffers who attended the Christian camp have tested positive. Several weeks of programming was consequently canceled.
The Ridge camp reopened last week after shutting down for two weeks in June, Pine Cove spokeswoman Susan Andreone said.
In Georgia, two locations of the YMCA’s Camp High Harbour closed in June after reopening because a counselor tested positive for COVID-19, according to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Both the Lake Allatoona and Lake Burton locations have since been closed for the summer.
In Arkansas, Mount Ida’s Camp Ozark has shut down for the summer after "several" campers and employees tested positive for the viral disease, KATV reported on Wednesday. The camp, which is said to attract over 7,000 kids each year, did not disclose how many people tested positive.
According to the American Camp Association, about 26 million kids normally participate in camps throughout the United States each year. Now, the camp association estimates that 19.5 million young people will miss out on the in-person day and overnight camps this year because of the pandemic, but 6.5 million children are still expected to attend.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.