LAMPE, Mo. — Nearly 5,000 campers have gone through the Kanakuk camp sessions already this summer. As of this afternoon, there were 49 confirmed cases of coronavirus at their high school K-2 camp location in Lampe, Mo. Some of those campers came from 10 different states.
Lisa Cox, the Communications Director with Missouri Department of Health and Seniors Services, said, “What happens with those cases is they’re all handled by their own jurisdiction.”
Cox said there has been constant communication between the camp and Stone County Health Department. She said Stone County has been receiving updates on positive cases from other state health departments.
“They were doing some testing here, and people were getting tested when they returned back home,” Cox said.
We do not know how many tests were administered at the campsite. We also do not know the breakdown of how many campers and counselors tested positive. Jeff Mason, the communications director with Kamp Kanakuk said some of those cases were asymptomatic.
As part of the Kamp Kanakuk’s coronavirus plan, they took temperatures and wore masks. There was also extensive cleaning of the facilities. Social distancing was required.
In his statement, Mason said the Kamp was “prepared for this possibility, and responded swiftly to implement the proper health and safety protocols to identify, isolate and respond to any COVID 19-like symptoms. Our Health Task Force is working to ensure this process is handled with the utmost care and caution.”
In addition to testing on the campsite. Kamp Kanakuk limited exposure between camp groups, prohibited hand touching, and did not allow campers to share items.
“With that type of facility, they are all in close contact we would assume,” Cox said.
Dr. Jason Newland, a Pediatric Infectious Disease Physician at Washington University said the virus can spread rapidly in close quarters, such as dorm-like environments in the camp cabins.
This was one reason Dr. Newland did not send his own daughters to Kamp Kanakuk.
“The virus can spread to others without someone having symptoms. Number two the virus is transmitted when people are in close contact,” Dr. Newland said.
He was also concerned by the thousands of campers going through the sites, many of them coming from other states.
Kamp Kanakuk shut down their K-2 Facility for the remainder of the term, Dr. Newland says this is not enough.
“It’s super important that this camp closes now and closes for the rest of the season. Cause we’re not out of this. And we need to get these levels down,” Dr. Newland said.
Dr. Newland stressed that the virus is far from over, and more so now people need to social distance, stay home, and wear masks.
“This is a super hard virus to contain, we’ve seen that,” Newland said.
Dr. Newland said taking the steps now, will allow for activities to be available next year.
“We can get out of this situation, and we can get to the point where we get a vaccine, and protect a lot of people,” Dr. Newland said.