COVID-19 strategies resulted in ‘near zero’ infections in summer camps, CDC says

Night camps that have followed strategies to reduce the spread of COVID-19 have been quite successful this summer, according to a study released by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The CDC analyzed 7,173 campers and staff at nine overnight camps from June through August. Only nine laboratory-confirmed cases of COVID-19 have occurred. And none of these cases resulted in re-infections.

“The results of this study confirm that prevention strategies at multiple levels (for example, frequent drug testing, masking, physical distancing and activity modification) help reduce the risk of the introduction and spread of COVID-19 in the summer camps for young people, ”the report says. Senior scientist Dr Sarah Lee told FOX News. “Plus, with high vaccination rates among staff and eligible campers, these camps were well prepared to prevent COVID-19. “

The camps worked with the CDC, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Camp Association, and state and local departments to design protocols specific to their individual site.

All camps required their participants to wear masks and practice social distancing for two weeks before their arrival. Once arrived, they were to produce a negative result on a COVID-19 test taken no more than three days in advance.

The camps encouraged all eligible participants to be vaccinated but did not require it. Thirty percent of the campers were under 12, meaning they were not eligible for the vaccine.

RELATED: Unvaccinated people can expect COVID-19 infections every 16 months, study finds

They, along with all other unvaccinated participants, were tested for COVID-19 every day for 12 days. The CDC said the camps had performed more than 38,000 tests. Only 21 came back positive and 15 were later determined to be false positives.

Three more symptomatic cases were then identified, bringing the total to nine out of more than 7,100 participants.

“Implementing high immunization coverage coupled with multiple prevention strategies is essential to avoid outbreaks of COVID-19 in assembly places, including overnight camps,” the CDC said. “These results highlight important guiding principles for COVID-19 prevention protocols in schools and youth.”

Staff and campers were organized into pods. Each pod was the same cabin where residents interacted with their other members without masking or moving away physically, but eventually the camps merged into larger pods, where one pod evolved into multiple cabins.

Camp leaders have also maximized outdoor activities, reducing the chances of the virus spreading. Meals were staggered, as were meal times inside and outside.

This story was reported from Atlanta.

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