COVID outbreak shuts down summer camp after campers and staff test positive in Vermont

Toby Talbot/AP
·2 min read

A COVID-19 outbreak among campers and staff shut down a summer camp early in Vermont, resulting in attendees being sent home before its scheduled end.

YMCA Camp Abnaki, a day and overnight camp for boys in North Hero along Lake Champlain, told parents camp was closing a week early on Friday, Aug. 12, before the final date of Aug. 19, according to Greater Burlington YMCA Director Doug Bishop.

At least 31 campers and staff members have tested positive, Bishop told McClatchy News in a statement. All campers took an at-home COVID-19 test prior to arriving.

Those sent home had only spent a week at the camp before their two-week session was cut short, according to Bishop, who added the origin of the COVID-19 outbreak had not been identified as of Aug. 16.

To attend camp, all campers had to be vaccinated against COVID-19, according to Camp Abnaki’s website. Meanwhile, counselors and staff had to be fully vaccinated with a booster shot, Bishop said.

Parents picked up campers on Saturday, Aug. 13, and Sunday, Aug. 14, Bishop added.

Kyle Dodson of the Greater Burlington YMCA told WCAX that he had to make the decision to shut down camp on Aug. 12 as he feared the same decision would have been made during the weekend.

“We had the opportunity to give parents at least the best opportunity to grab their child in a nonchaotic fashion,” he told the outlet.

The camp’s outbreak comes as nearly 3.3 million people in the U.S. have tested positive for COVID-19 in the past 28 days, according to Johns Hopkins University.

The omicron BA.5 subvariant made up roughly 88% of cases for the week ending Aug. 13, CDC data estimates show.

Camp Abnaki’s day camp is for boys in grades K-4 while the overnight camp is for those in grades 1-10.

This summer, roughly 700 campers attended the camp since the first session began on June 26, according to Bishop. There were 500 overnight campers and 200 day campers.

North Hero is roughly 70 miles northwest of Montpelier.

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