Houston News : Texas will provide rapid COVID-19 tests for summer camps

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Last summer, most summer camps were shuttered across the country because of the pandemic. A spokesperson for the American Camp Association said more than 20 million children in the U.S. did not get to go to camp last summer who normally would due to closures.

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The tests will be voluntary for both staff and campers. Summer camp organizers need to apply to participate.

“As normalcy returns to Texas, we must remain vigilant against the spread of COVID-19 by identifying positive cases and mitigating any potential outbreaks,” Abbott said in the statement. “I encourage qualifying summer camps to apply for this program so that we can continue to keep Texans safe.”

This comes after Texas ended most of its coronavirus-related restrictions earlier this month.

Texas has a series of health recommendations revised this month for summer camp operators, including social distancing rules, prohibiting parent or guardian visits except to pick up or drop off a child and separating campers and staff into smaller cohorts that do not mix for the duration of the camp. Guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says summer camps can reopen safely if they follow a number of protocols.

Staff members or campers who test positive should be immediately isolated and then removed from the camp, according to the Texas Department of State Health Services. Parents are told to pick up their children within eight hours if they become infected.

Many parents across Texas rely on summer camps — some which operate daytime hours and not overnight — for child care while school is out for summer break.

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“It’s really important because you can’t just let your kids stay at home and supervised all day long unless you just want them to melt into a screen all day long, which they will,” said Dr. Katie Simon, a mom and Austin neonatologist.

Simon said she and her husband — both full-time physicians — count on summer camps for their children while school is out.

However, she said the rapid antigen tests aren’t always accurate, and she would not put her trust solely in them.

The rapid tests are less sensitive than polymerase chain reaction tests at detecting cases of the coronavirus, which means they could return false negatives, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Children, who are largely asymptomatic when positive with COVID-19, can pose a particular risk for spread to others. And there is a rare condition called Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome, which appears to affect some children after being exposed to COVID-19.

This article originally appeared in The Texas Tribune at https://www.texastribune.org/2021/03/30/texas-covid-tests-summer-camps/.



Houston Forum

Source : chron.com