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Fresno County summer youth camp suspended after rise in coronavirus cases

Image shows SARS-CoV-2, which causes COVID-19
A microscopic image of SARS-CoV-2, the coronavirus that causes COVID-19. A Fresno summer youth camp has suspended its remaining sessions after a rise in cases.
(National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Rocky Mountain Laboratories)

A Fresno County youth camp has suspended its remaining summer sessions after more than 15 people tested positive for the coronavirus in the last few weeks, amid a surge in cases across the state.

The decision to suspend the camps was made after consulting with the Fresno County Department of Public Health and through an “abundance of care for the health and safety of our campers and staff,” according to a Hume Lake Christian Camp statement.

“We are saddened by the need for these changes and the impact that will be felt by many churches and families,” the statement read. “We look forward to resuming operations soon and continuing to serve students and their leaders.”

The camp, which sits on 365 acres, hosts about 2,000 people each week, according to a representative for the Hume Lake organization, who declined to be named. The camps have run since June, and attendees were required to be vaccinated or have a negative coronavirus test within three days of their arrival.

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Once on-site, according to the Hume website, campers would “enjoy a mask-free experience” except in indoor places, such as stores and game rooms; in dining rooms as campers went through buffet lines; or in the event of broad transmission of the virus in camp.

Over the last few weeks, more than 15 people tested positive for the coronavirus, according to the Hume representative. The county Department of Public Health did not have the total number of cases tied to the camp since June.

“It does seem to be in line with the increase in the cases and variant we’ve been seeing,” the representative said. “They had many weeks of camp where they had absolutely no COVID positives. It definitely seemed to be an uptick.”

The number of positive cases in Fresno County has steadily increased since the end of June, according to state data.

On July 28, the Department of Public Health released preliminary data showing an increasing trend of coronavirus cases for younger age groups, from 10 to 30 years old.

The department said last week that emergency room visits for COVID-19 symptoms in patients younger than 18 exceeded visits by those 65 and older.

“The increase in youth case rates and the dramatic overall increase in cases is most likely due to the Delta variant, which is much more contagious and affecting younger populations,” Dr. John Zweifler, Fresno County public health physician, said in a statement.

L.A. County seemed like an outlier last month when it imposed new mask requirements in public places. Now more California counties are following suit.

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One parent whose child attended Hume Lake Christian Camp in the last week said it was one of the few places “that really tried to go out there and offer something for the kids.”

But she said suspending the camp was a good move.

“With the amount of illness, it’s really the right thing to do,” she said.


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