The Ohio Department of Health (ODH) is urging caution at residential camps following reports of COVID-19 outbreaks linked to two camps in the western part of the state.
ODH has released updated residential camp guidance to advise campers and camp operators of best prevention practices.
The guidance recommends implementing layered prevention tactics at camps attended by any campers who are not fully vaccinated against COVID-19. This involves use of multiple strategies that have been shown to be effective at controlling spread of the disease, including masking, social distancing, hand washing, and frequent cleaning and sanitation.
“If not everyone at a residential camp is fully vaccinated, the layering of strategies is critical to protecting campers, staff, and volunteers,” said Bruce Vanderhoff, MD, chief medical officer at ODH. “This is especially important as a new, more contagious strain of COVID-19 settles in our state. Taking these precautions can help reduce the likelihood of spread and allow everyone to safely participate in camp activities.”
The new guidance reiterates universal recommendations for vaccination, masking, distancing, and sanitation. It also offers guidance specific to the camp experience, including cohorting and recommendations on when to wear and when not to wear face masks.
With the recent outbreaks, Dr. Vanderhoff continues to encourage all eligible Ohioans who can safely do so to get vaccinated against COVID-19. Vaccine is currently available for use in anyone 12 or older.
“Vaccination is our most effective tool for preventing COVID-19 and putting the pandemic behind us,” Dr. Vanderhoff said. “These vaccines save lives and will help ensure Ohioans are able to enjoy many more summers to come.”
COVID-19 vaccines are widely available throughout the state, and Ohioans can schedule a vaccination appointment at gettheshot.coronavirus.ohio.gov.