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Muskoka overnight camp closure extended by 2 weeks amid COVID-19 outbreak

Click to play video: 'Muskoka Woods decides to cancel overnight camp for week due to COVID-19' Muskoka Woods decides to cancel overnight camp for week due to COVID-19
WATCH ABOVE: (Aug. 2) As Catherine McDonald reports, the camp made the decision just hours after children were dropped off for the week-long session – Aug 2, 2021

The closure of an overnight camp in the Muskoka area has been extended by two weeks amid a COVID-19 outbreak, according to an email obtained by Global News.

Parents and children at the Muskoka Woods Camp in Rosseau, Ont., were first informed of a closure on Sunday. At the time, it was believed the closure would last for just week five of the summer camp.

But in an email sent to parents Tuesday evening, the camp’s president and executive director said the closure has been extended and now affects weeks six and seven, which is up to Aug. 21. The email said those affected will be receiving a full refund.

Read more: Muskoka overnight camp temporarily shut down due to COVID-19 outbreak

The email said the decision was made because the local public health unit gave the camp a closure notice which required all seasonal and non-essential staff to self-isolate at home.

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“We know this news is devastating to you and your children,” the email continued.

“We are deeply upset by this announcement because of how disappointing this is for our guests.”

Camp officials said since an outbreak was declared, all protocols by public health have been followed, including the testing of all staff.

They said there are “only single-digit positive cases” associated with the outbreak.

Meanwhile, a second email sent from the camp to parents Tuesday recommended that all week four and five campers be tested for COVID-19 amid new guidance from the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit (SMDHU).

Read more: Ontario camps pivot to offering rentals, family programs to salvage season

Earlier Tuesday, SMDHU said a total of four staff and campers have confirmed positive cases, with two other “preliminary positive results.”

“There are still a number of test results that are in progress as we are expanding the testing to all staff and other close contacts,” Dr. Colin Lee, SMDHU associate medical officer of health, said in an email.

“It is too early to determine if, and which, variants of concern are involved in the outbreak. Overnight camps have been using provincial guidelines to operate as safely as possible given the pandemic.

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“Measures include testing of campers and staff before arriving at camp, as well as cohorting of campers and staff at camp in smaller groups similar to what was used in schools in order to limit spread of illnesses.”

— with files from Catherine McDonald

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