Bible camp in Oregon shuts down after at least 25 campers and staffers test positive for COVID-19

At least 25 campers and staff members at a camp east of Portland, Oregon, have tested positive for the coronavirus.

The virus was first detected July 18 at Trout Creek Bible Camp near Corbett when a staff member tested positive, and the camp shut down for the season on July 21.

Multnomah County health officials say the outbreak has grown to 11 campers and 14 staff members, all 20 or younger, OregonLive.

The camp’s executive director, Joe Fahlman, said the camp followed all requirements set forth by the Oregon Health Authority. Those included daily temperature checks of all campers and staff, frequent hand washing and hand sanitizer stations spaced throughout the 265-acre grounds.

The virus was first detected July 18 at Trout Creek Bible Camp near Corbett when a staff member tested positive (a picture of the camp from their social media)

The virus was first detected July 18 at Trout Creek Bible Camp near Corbett when a staff member tested positive (a picture of the camp from their social media)

He did however stress that wearing masks was optional. 

The campers also were divided into groups of 10 or less.

‘We had many parents who were very thankful,’ Fahlman said. ‘They said “Thank you for doing this.”‘ 

Joe Fahlman, the camp's executive director, said the camp followed all requirements set forth by the Oregon Health Authority

Joe Fahlman, the camp's executive director, said the camp followed all requirements set forth by the Oregon Health Authority

Joe Fahlman, the camp’s executive director, said the camp followed all requirements set forth by the Oregon Health Authority

The Oregon Health Authority has no plans to release where positive cases have popped up at camps or daycares unless at least 30 students attend and at least five cases have been detected. 

Trout Creek Bible Camp typically runs as an overnight camp but just kept the day camp once Gov. Kate Brown prohibited sleepaway camps in May. 

Around 325 campers from second through the 12th grade participate in the camps each week. This year, the camp kept things to 150 campers or fewer. There were more than 100 counselors and other staff attending each week, Fahlman shared. 

Fahlman first grew concerned when a staff member went home sick on July 16. The employee had not been interacting with children. 

When the staffer tested positive two days later, the camp notified the Multnomah County’s public health department. 

By the next day, Fahlman was notified of three more tests but the camp was given the clear to continue operating. 

The camp shut down for the season on July 21

The camp shut down for the season on July 21

The camp shut down for the season on July 21

The director did share that he notified incoming parents and staff so that they could opt out of attending.

On July 21, the camp decided to end the day voluntarily after a counselor-in-training tested positive. 

Kate Yeiser, a spokeswoman for the county, verified that the camp did close voluntarily

It is unknown just how many people are infected with the virus.  

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