Camp Caraway will reopen July 13 after being closed for a week due to an outbreak of swine flu.
“The last three weeks of camp will go on as scheduled,” said Jimmy Huffman, director of Caraway Conference Center and Camp.
The camp scheduled for July 6-10 was cancelled after two campers who were at camp June 22-26 were diagnosed with H1N1 flu, commonly called “swine flu.”
Huffman said the camp got word on June 29 that a camper had been diagnosed with the virus. Camp leaders found out about the second camper the next day.
Staff members who had the most contact with the two and those who had flu-like symptoms were tested for the virus on June 30. Five of the 24 staff members at Camp Caraway tested positive.
Those staff members were quarantined immediately and did not have any further contact with campers attending a mini-camp June 29 – July 1. Huffman said he was told the cases appeared to be mild.
“We didn’t have any staff that was really sick,” he said.
The staff members who did not test positive for H1N1 took preventive medication, he said.
“Everybody’s doing fine,” he said.
Caraway Conference Center was not involved in the outbreak. Conference center employees who have contact with the camp, including Huffman, were tested and do not have the virus.
The families of all campers who were at camp June 22-26 or June 29 – July 1 were notified about the illnesses, according to Huffman. The campers who were scheduled to attend July 6-10 can reschedule for one of the last three weeks or get a refund, he said.
“It’s tough to have to cancel a week of camp, but it was the right thing to do,” he said.
Huffman said the Caraway staff had been sent home while the camp is closed for the week. When camp reopens July 13, it will have been 13 days since the staff members tested positive for H1N1, said. That’s almost twice as long as suggested for people with the virus to stay away from other people, he said.
The camp has been cleaned twice and will be cleaned again before it reopens, Huffman said.
Mimi Cooper, the health director of Randolph County, where Caraway is located, said the facility itself is not likely to cause another outbreak, but if someone with the virus comes to camp, it could spread. She said it was the camp’s call whether to close or not.
“I don’t think they did the wrong thing,” she said.
Cooper said that the H1N1 virus is so prevalent now that only patients with a high risk of dying who have flu-like symptoms are normally tested for it. She sent a letter to all the camps in the county before the summer advising them to take precautions, such as encouraging hand-washing.
Huffman said Caraway had installed extra hand-washing stations this year. He said campers will be encouraged to use them frequently when camp reopens.