Miamisburg camp responds to reports of COVID-19 outbreak during retreat

Miami Valley News

MIAMISBURG, Ohio (WDTN) – After a COVID-19 outbreak was reported Monday, officials with a Miamisburg camp say they felt mischaracterized and are trying to protect the privacy of camp attendees, many of them children.

Jason Harmeyer, president and CEO of Chautauqua Camp and Conference Center, said he and his staff were disappointed when a release from Public Health – Dayton & Montgomery County stated the camp wasn’t providing information about who was at a Baptist church retreat between June 27 and July 3.

“It created a narrative that was not accurate and not really in the true sense of what we are about in partnering with our local officials and really how it relates to partnering with parents and groups,” Harmeyer said.

PHDMC reports the number of cases associated with a the retreat held at Camp Chautauqua is now up to 70.

Dan Suffoletto, public information supervisor for PHDMC, said Public Health is asking for a full list of all churches in attendance that weekend.

“We don’t know how many churches there are, so we don’t know when everybody’s been contacted, if everybody’s contacted, so it’s easier if we do that,” Suffoletto said. “That way we can make sure people are contacted, and more imporantly, make sure all the questions are answered.”

Harmeyer said Camp Chautauqua is just the venue for organizations to host summer camps.

Camp officials decided to contact each church group individually to notify them about the COVID-19 cases. They are also providing them with information about contacting Public Health if they decide it’s needed.

Harmeyer said the reason they’re doing this instead of giving a list to Public Health comes down to privacy.

“We want to be sensitive to the privacy of our guests, many of them are minors, most of them are minors, and so we take their information very seriously. And also, the control aspect of that information is the group leader and the groups that are renting from our facility,” Harmeyer said.

In a press release, Harmeyer said the camp was made aware of one positive case on July 1 and that person was immediately isolated.

“On Thursday July 1st an individual tested positive for COVID and we immediately had the person quarantined off campus,” the release said. “In addition, we initiated diligent monitoring of the rest of the group for symptoms and began temperature checks of individuals associated with that group.  We also performed temperature checks and COVID tests for our staff after receiving the news of this single positive case.”

Harmeyer said the camp has made COVID-19 prevention a priority throughout the pandemic, and this is the first time a case was reported at camp, and several others reported after guests had already left the campground.

PHDMC asks anyone who attended the camp from June 27 to July 3 to contact their local health department.

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