Camp voluntarily agrees to close for summer; campers had not yet arrived
DENVER – The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) is collaborating with El Paso County Public Health to support an investigation into an outbreak of COVID-19 among adult staff at Eagle Lake Overnight Camp, a residential camp that had not yet opened to campers.
On June 18, the department received reports of confirmed cases of COVID-19 at Eagle Lake Overnight Camp. The camp, which is near the border of Teller and El Paso counties, had approximately 150 staff onsite for training and to prepare for the camp’s opening. An investigation has identified an initial total of 51 individuals impacted by the outbreak:
- Four confirmed cases.
- Seven probable cases.
- An additional 40 individuals who have been exposed.
All of the staff are over 18 years old.
The camp is cooperating fully with the outbreak investigation while public health officials are issuing appropriate quarantine and isolation orders for staff who have been exposed or are already ill.
In light of the circumstances, Eagle Lake Overnight Camp has decided not to open this summer.
“This is an unfortunate reminder that this pandemic is far from over. This virus spreads rapidly among groups of people, and that is why it’s so critical for everyone to remain vigilant and to follow safety precautions to minimize transmission,” said state epidemiologist Dr. Rachel Herlihy. “Our current guidelines under ‘Safer at Home and in the Vast, Great Outdoors’ limit group sizes and interaction in order to reduce the likelihood of large outbreaks that could reverse our progress and overwhelm local health care system capacity.”
The results of the investigation into this outbreak will not impact the recent update to Public Health Order 20-28 allowing for residential camps to operate under strict safety measures.
“We continually evaluate our public health orders and guidance to find the right balance between allowing activities and restricting activities and conditions that could worsen the pandemic in Colorado. We believe that it is still safe for camps to operate if they comply with our current public health orders. If we find that these eased restrictions are unable to prevent outbreaks, we will re-evaluate,” Herlihy said.
On June 19, a team of epidemiologists from CDPHE led a virtual consultation for directors of residential camps statewide, offering technical assistance and advice for how residential camps can mitigate and respond to possible outbreaks as the summer progresses.