A dozen new COVID-19 cases linked to Boucherville camp, bringing total to around 40
MONTREAL -- There are a dozen new cases of COVID-19 associated with a large day-camp outbreak in Boucherville, South Shore health authorities said Wednesday.
That means there’s now a total of around 40 cases linked to the day camp Les Ateliers de Charlot l’Escargot.
It’s important to note that the new confirmed cases are of people who had contact with the original group of 27 people—kids and staff—who were infected at the camp, said Martine Lesage, a spokesperson for the health district of Montérégie Centre.
The outbreak at the camp began on July 20. More than a week later, health authorities are busy doing contact tracing to see who spent time with the first people infected and following those people's test results.
In some ways the contact-tracing effort is easier with the day camp than it was with the last significant outbreak in Montérégie, after two teenage parties about a month ago were ultimately linked to at least 80 COVID-19 infections in the area around Mercier.
In those cases, part of the effort was figuring out who was at the parties to begin with, said Lesage. In the case of the day camp, contact tracers have a list of who was attending and can more easily follow their activities.
Still, so far just a dozen new cases linked to the camp can be confirmed, said Lesage.The local health department should have more updates in the coming days, she said.
The Les Ateliers de Charlot l’Escargot camp website lists programs for children aged 3 to 11, and a leadership or counsellor-in-training program for 12- to 14-year-olds.
It describes a multitude of activities revolving around the arts, including dance, singing, theatre, yoga, painting and other graphic arts, and jewellery-making.
It also has special camps dedicated to English immersion and sports.
A spokeswoman for the camp told CTV last week that its managers had been extremely careful to follow the COVID-19 prevention rules.
“We have taken all preventive measures and followed the directives of the public health department to the letter, since March,” camp spokesperson Annie Montour told CTV News at the time.
The camp’s website lists various symptoms of the virus and says parents must keep kids home if they display any one of them, and that any child showing symptoms while at camp would be isolated until the parent could arrive to pick the child up.
Quebec's association of day camps says about 15 of its members have seen a limited number of cases since the camps opened at the end of June. The affected camps are in western Quebec, the Eastern Townships and the Monteregie.
Anne-Frederique Morin, the association's assistant director, said the camps have kept activities outdoors as much as possible, required physical distancing, grouped campers in “bubbles” of four to six and provided protective equipment for staff.
The Boucherville camp is not part of the association.
“We have had no big outbreaks," Morin said. “When those measures are in place, we’re able to intervene and trace cases quickly.”
The Monteregie region has been one of the harder hit areas in recent weeks along with Montreal, with new cases cropping up mainly in the 15-to-34 age bracket, according to health officials.
--With files from The Canadian Press
The video above, from July 23, describes what measures health authorities were taking after discovering COVID-19 cases at day camps in Monteregie.