In this email:
Health Update: Steady Decline of Campers with Symptoms and Return of Healthy Campers, Questions About H1N1, Tamiflu Policy Clarification
Dear 3rd Session Families,
Shavua Tov (good week)! As we begin our final week of second session, we want to let you know how we’ve been doing over the last couple of days.
We began Shabbat with joyous Kabbalat Shabbat (Friday Night) services, delicious dinner, a spirited song session, and Israeli dancing. Saturday morning everyone enjoyed, and needed, an extra hour of sleep, followed by many campers’ favorite breakfast—Saturday coffee cake! Campers then spent the morning in age appropriate prayer services. Following lunch and rest time, at the end of Alo-options, we discussed this week’s Torah portion, Matot-Masei. While enjoying popsicles in the shade of a tree, campers discussed one of the messages of the portion—the idea that a person should not stand idly by, and in the face of injustice, we can all stand up for justice.
As for the well-being of our camp community, we are relieved that after the initial few days of sending home a large number of sick campers, the numbers of new campers with fever and flu-like symptoms continues to decrease. Over the course of this session, as of Sunday morning, 160 of 414 campers have gone home with a fever. Of course, we are disappointed with so many campers at home, but we did have close to 400 healthy campers and staff still at camp for this Shabbat!
Most of our campers went home in the period from Monday - Wednesday. On Wednesday, 49 campers went home with influenza like symptoms. On Thursday, the number of new cases going home was 27. Friday, only 17, and on Saturday, 4 campers fell ill. This steady decrease is consistent with what other camps have seen—a spike followed by a rapid and steady decrease for the rest of the session.
We are certainly excited about most campers’ return to camp in the next couple of days, healthy and ready to rejoin the camp community! For those of you who will be bringing your campers back this week, please bring them to the HealthCenter. When you arrive, a nurse will do a health screening of each camper to confirm that all who are returning are symptom-free. Afterwards, a counselor will help your child bring his or her belongings back to his or her bunk and rejoin the community.
A number of parents have asked us if the flu cases at camp are H1N1 (swine flu). While we are not able to test for or confirm specific flu strains at camp, we have had many health care professionals tell us that at this point in the year, most flu strains have died off, and that the assumption is that most cases of Influenza A are probably H1N1. However, the message that has remained consistent from all members of the health community is that for most healthy children and adults, this particular strain of the flu is mild and presents like any other flu—a few days of symptom, followed by full recovery. The main concern has been its highly contagious nature, as no one is currently immunized against it, and that the virus can spread from someone who is infected for up to seven days. Please know that we are doing all we can to limit the spread of illness at CampAlonim and keep our entire community healthy.
A clarification of CampAlonim
’s Tamiflu policy for next session: We encourage all parents to discuss this option with your child’s physician in the case of a 3rd session outbreak.
Please note, campers are not required to bring Tamiflu in order to attend 3rd session. We are suggesting this measure based on what many parents did this session in conjunction with their physician and what has been successful for other camps. It is, however, for you and your child’s health care provider to discuss and ultimately decide.
Please be on the lookout for a mailing to arrive this week with a Tamiflu consent form.
Additionally, as part of our preparations for 3rd session to ensure a safe community, we are encouraging our staff to begin a prophylactic dosage of Tamiflu to minimize carryover.
We look forward to welcoming your campers in a little over a week with great excitement!
Executive Director, CampAlonim