LUCASVILLE, Ohio — The Scioto County Health Department confirmed a COVID-19 outbreak at a summer camp in southern Ohio. They say there have been nine confirmed cases at the Lucasville camp. It's the same camp that had a norovirus outbreak in May.
This comes as one health leader is sharing a message for parents who have plans to send their kids to camp.
If your child is old enough to go to summer camp they can get a COVID vaccine -- and they should. That's the advice for parents from Molly Dargaville, the regional epidemiologist for Lawrence and Scioto Counties.
She explained how her health departments are working with summer camps to minimize the spread of the virus, especially with a new omicron variant driving up cases across the country.
"I have a kid myself, she's only six I know how difficult it can be to get a child to wear a mask consistently,” Dargaville said. “So the best thing really you can do is get that vaccination for them."
Dargaville said measures like mask-wearing during times of high transmission and vaccinations are still recommended. However, the responsibility has moved from the health departments and the government to personal responsibility.
“And that's the big difference,” she said.
She said it's now up to facilities and programs like summer camps to report positive cases to the health department.
“Up until recently, we won't be alerted to a facility having an outbreak unless we get a complaint or the facility themselves calls and lets us know, generally, our facilities in Scioto County do a really good job of reporting outbreaks to us.”
She said they received a complaint about Camp Molly Lauman and said they confirmed with the camp's director that there were nine positive cases.
Dargaville explained an outbreak is defined as two or more cases linked to a common place of exposure, and what happens next.
“Now it's on a case by case basis, if we have a facility, or we have a summer camp reach out to us if they have COVID-19 concerns or if they do have an outbreak of cases, then we're giving them more personalized recommendations and talking them through the process in more detail,” she said.
Last summer the Ohio Department of Health issued guidance for residential summer camps following two outbreaks in western Ohio.
That guidance hasn't been updated since.
A spokesperson for the camp sent 10TV the following statement:
"The Ohio Department of Health is reporting a rise in COVID cases statewide, and Camp Molly Lauman unfortunately has been affected.
In an effort to keep campers and staff safe, we have been COVID testing our staff each Sunday prior to new campers arriving. As of 7/10/2022 we had a total of 9 staff members that had tested positive between July 3 and July 10. Following our COVID safety protocols, staff who tested positive quarantined based on CDC recommendations. In order to ensure the safety of everyone at camp, we made the difficult decision to close Camp Molly Lauman for the week of July 10-July 16. The closure was out of extreme caution and Camp Molly Lauman will reopen on July 17 with a new week of campers. We will continue to test staff and monitor for symptoms to keep everyone healthy.
We encourage our campers to protect themselves, test when possible before attending any event with large groups, and to stay home if they are experiencing COVID symptoms."