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Hundreds of kids may have been exposed to coronavirus at Michigan camp

BARRY COUNTY, MI – Health officials say approximately 250 people who attended a Southwest Michigan overnight camp are at risk of coronavirus exposure after several people at the camp tested positive for the virus.

Five staff members and one camper who were at Camp Michawana near Hastings have tested positive for COVID-19, and one person is considered a probable case because of their symptoms, the Barry-Eaton District Health Department announced Thursday, Aug. 6.

Health officials warn that anyone who attended Camp Michawana, a faith-based youth camp, on or after July 24 may have been exposed to the virus. The camp property includes a children’s overnight camp, a family camp and a traditional-style campground — all three of which were open during the potential exposure period.

About 250 people attended or staffed the camp in the past two weeks and are at greatest risk of exposure, health officials said. Of that total, 180 were children under the age of 18 who attended the children’s overnight camp and 70 were either staff members or attendees of the family-style camp.

The Barry-Eaton District Health Department recommends that those at risk of exposure self-quarantine at home for 14 days past the last date of their stay at the camp. Individuals should monitor themselves closely for symptoms of COVID-19, and seek testing immediately if symptoms develop, health officials said.

After Michigan saw COVID-19 outbreaks at child-care centers and camps in recent weeks, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer mandated Thursday that face coverings must be worn in all Michigan child-care centers and camps.

“COVID-19 is still a very real threat to Michiganders of all ages, and we must continue to stay vigilant and use every tool at our disposal to protect ourselves and each other,” Whitmer said regarding the executive order.

Public health officials said this week they are now aware of more than 50 confirmed cases and 13 probable cases of COVID-19 tied to a Christian youth camp in Gladwin County.

Barry County has confirmed 144 positive COVID-19 cases and two deaths total, according to the health department. There have been 389 positive cases and 8 deaths confirmed in Eaton County.

Statewide, health officials have reported 85,429 positive cases and 6,237 deaths in Michigan as of Aug. 6.

COVID-19 PREVENTION TIPS

In addition to washing hands regularly and not touching your face, officials recommend practicing social distancing, assuming anyone may be carrying the virus.

Health officials say you should be staying at least 6 feet away from others and working from home, if possible.

Use disinfecting wipes or disinfecting spray cleaners on frequently-touched surfaces in your home (door handles, faucets, countertops) and carry hand sanitizer with you when you go into places like stores.

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has also issued an executive order requiring people to wear face coverings over their mouth and nose while inside enclosed, public spaces.

Read all of MLive’s coverage on the coronavirus at mlive.com/coronavirus.

Additional information is available at Michigan.gov/Coronavirus and CDC.gov/Coronavirus.

Read more on MLive:

Whitmer mandates mask use at child-care centers and camps

‘Are masks bad for your health?,’ plus 8 other coronavirus myths and truths

Latest on coronavirus antibodies and immunity: What we know and what we don’t at this point

53 confirmed, 13 probable coronavirus cases now linked to Gladwin County youth camp


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