Fresno County, CA, Christian summer camps affected by COVID

Several children at Hume Lake Christian Camp have tested positive for COVID-19, according to news reports, and Fresno County health officials say it’s a cautionary tale for those trying to return to school without masks.

At least three of the camps have tested positive for COVID-19 and hundreds more at the Fresno County camp will likely be exposed, according to San Francisco-area TV station KRON4.

Hume Lake notified parents of the infection on July 15, four days after the camp arrived, according to the TV station.

Hume Lake did not immediately respond to requests for comment from The Fresno Bee. “All necessary precautions have been taken to maintain the safety of the camp,” camp officials told KRON4 in a statement.

“We need to be vaccinated or test negative for COVID within three days of attending camp at Lake Hume,” officials said. “We have started contact tracing by a team of trained professionals to identify people who may have been exposed to positive camp, and those individuals have been sent home according to our protocols.”

Officials said they have begun a deep cleaning of areas where newly infected children have been infected.

Health officials say the highly contagious delta variant of COVID-19 may be of greater concern to young people than previous versions of the virus.

As of July 8, more than 4 million children have been diagnosed with COVID-19, which is 14.2 percent of all cases, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. The association reported that more than 31,000 new cases were reported in the week from June 24 to July 8.

At least 335 children, age 17 or younger, have died from COVID-19, according to the latest data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Serious complications in children remain extremely rare, but an increased incidence among children, including severe cases, with variable delta prevalence and without the COVID vaccine permitted for children under 12 years of age, is expected.

Fresno County

The Fresno County Department of Public Health is aware of the infection in the camp but has stopped short of describing the incidents as an outbreak, according to Dr. Rice Vohra, interim health official.

He said the county is working with camp runners to ensure safe practices.

“I worry about summer camps in general. We are seeing more and more younger people getting delta infections,” Vohra said.

Health officials have warned parents to be serious about researching camp safety before sending children to summer camp, and to make sure children are healthy before going to camp.

Vohra said infections at summer camps may be a glimpse of what schools can see if they are too loose about safety.

Some parents in the area have strongly opposed the requirements for where to place masks when schools begin in the fall. The most recent example was a large group of protesting parents at the Clovis Unified School Board meeting on Wednesday.

Vohra said district schools were able to operate safely at the end of last school year, and advised schools and parents to continue wearing masks and any other precautions they were taking before the school year ended.

“My expectation is that we will see a slight increase in children getting it when schools return,” Vohra said. “We will try to limit that as much as possible, but it is up to all of us as parents, community members and healthcare providers to try to keep them away from as much risk as possible.”

This story was originally published July 22, 2021 3:14 p.m.

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Reporter Thaddeus Miller has covered cities in the central San Joaquin Valley since 2010, writing on everything from breaking news to government and police accountability. A native of Fresno, he joined The Fresno Bee in 2019 after a stint at Merced and Los Banos.

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