Camp Qwanoes children’s camp closes after large COVID-19 outbreak

Camp Qwanoes children's camp closes after large COVID-19 outbreak
Camp Qwanoes / YouTube

Every summer since 1966 school-aged kids travel to Camp Qwanoes near Crofton.

Now, after an outbreak of almost twenty COVID-19 among campers, and more cases among staff, the facility has shut down, according to the camp’s executive director, Scott Bayley.

“I think it’s hovering around 15 to 20 from that week. Of course, they all went home Friday, and there’s nobody here right now.”

250 children aged 8-to-11 arrived on Sunday, August 15 for their week-long overnight camp and it didn’t take long for one camper to show symptoms.

“I’m pretty sure that the first one we actually sent home early before the camp ended,” Bayley said.

By the time the camper was sent home, however, the other kids were starting to show symptoms of the virus as well, leading Bayl

ey to believe more children arrived at camp with COVID.

“I do think that more than one camper came with COVID because there was some in other cabins that wouldn’t have had contact.”

Bayley says so far all the children are recovering from mild symptoms.

That’s common according to pediatrician Dr. Steve Kent, even for children infected with the Delta variant.

“The expectation is still that the majority of children should handle the virus quite well. And in fact, either be asymptomatic or have mild symptoms. The chances of having mild to severe illness are quite uncommon.”

Dr. Kent says some do get sicker, but few within Island Health.

“As of now in Victoria, we have not had any children admitted to hospital with COVID. So we have had a pretty good run in terms of mild, and infrequent disease in children.”

A number of Camp Qwanoes staff members also tested positive.

“We’re still waiting for some test results back. It’s probably in the neighbourhood of ten to twelve,” Bayley said.

Despite the large outbreak, Bayley says Island Health did not recommend closing the camp this week.

He says they hope is to have day camps running again next week.

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