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Testing kept COVID-19 out of Maine summer camps

Testing kept COVID-19 out of Maine summer camps
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Four overnight summer camps in Maine were able to prevent transmission of COVID-19 by testing campers and staff before and after arrival and requiring masks and social distancing, according to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). 

More than 1,000 attendees from 41 states, including staff members and campers, were tested before arriving at camps. Those who tested positive for COVID-19 delayed their arrival and quarantined at home for 10 days. Attendees were also asked to quarantine before arriving to limit their chances of exposure and introducing COVID-19 to other campers. 

Attendees who had not previously had COVID-19 were tested again one week after arriving at camp. Three people who tested positive were isolated and their contacts were quarantined. As a result, no secondary transmission occurred, according to the CDC report. 

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Campers also had to quarantine in groups for two weeks after arriving at camp in case anyone had been exposed during travel. 

The authors of the CDC report wrote that similar precautions can be taken to ensure COVID-19 isn’t spreading at other locations. 

“Testing and quarantine before staff member and camper arrival was essential to identifying SARS-CoV-2 infection and preventing introduction of virus into these congregate settings of younger adults who might be only mildly symptomatic or presymptomatic,” the authors wrote. 

“These findings have important implications for the successful implementation of COVID-19 mitigation strategies in other overnight camps, residential schools and colleges,” the authors wrote. 

Campers stayed in small groups with other kids during their time at the camp or wore masks and practiced social distancing when interacting with others outside those groups. 

Campers and staff members were also screened at least daily, indoor activities were limited and meal times were staggered.