In the midst of the World Health Organization declaring the outbreak of novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) a pandemic, the media is helping us become a fear-filled society wondering what this means for us. Manitoba Camping Association has been in conversation with the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority, and gathering information from the BCCA, CCI, WHO, WRHA, in planning your camps’ response to COVID-19. Some camps are also planning Spring Break camps and are wondering what to do, especially with organizations such as the NHL, NBA, MLB and MLS just announcing postponing/pausing their seasons; something unheard of.
 
Firstly, in most of our camp emergency procedures we state, “stay calm”; do that as the risk to Canadians remains low at this time.
 
Next, closely MONITOR information provided by your local public health authorities. They will have the most updated information about the fluidity of information for COVID-19. It has been recommended to change your health screening process for parents to give an update of their child’s health 48 hours before arrival to camp.

Suggestions to easily implement:
Wash your hands and do not touch your face.
Let campers and staff know if they are sick with fever and/or respiratory symptoms, they should stay home and not come to camp. Staff should self-evaluate daily for flu-like symptoms.
Remember to cough into a tissue which can be disposed of in the garbage, or cough into your elbow or shirt.
Wash your hands and do not touch your face.
Drink lots of water/stay hydrated and keep your mouth and throat wet. If you inhale the virus, when you swallow it will be brought down to your stomach where the acid will kill it.
Discourage high-five, hand shaking, hand-holding and hugging.
Do not share water bottles, lip balm or other food/snacks.
Wash your hands and do not touch your face.
It has also been recommended to monitor the response plans of local public schools and use some of their policies.
Hand sanitizer should be readily available in and around your camps, offices and other gathering spaces for everyone’s use.
Clean and disinfect surfaces according to local health guidelines
Ask your cleaners to be extra vigilant in cleaning common areas and surfaces such as door knobs and handles, counter surfaces and table tops, light switches, chairs, armrests, etc and to do this cleaning more often.
 
COMMUNICATE. This is key to your concerned staff, campers and their parents. Camps should have standards information available to parents, campers and staff as far as health screening upon arrival at camp, policies surrounding cancelling or rescheduling camp sessions and retreats, and documentation available for infection control procedures and communicable diseases that follow the principles of Universal or Standard Precautions.

If you are concerned about legal or insurance related aspects (what if you have to temporary close camp?) consult your insurance company or lawyer. Being prepared will help in any decisions needed.
BCCA shared this information: A strong partnership with your insurance carrier is key. Make sure you understand the details of your insurance coverage related to community health and business interruption, including when and how your policies apply. Consult with your insurance agent to ensure the risk management plans and insurance you have developed to respond to communicable diseases and other health challenges are sufficient to address any potential impact on camp should a health threat arise. Discuss business interruption and extra expense coverages (including communicable disease and associated impacts) and specialized forms of travel insurance that might cover camp tuition refunds in certain circumstances.
 
RESOURCES
Manitoba Government, Current Risk Status: https://www.gov.mb.ca/health/coronavirus/index.html

Hand washing poster from WRHA: https://www.gov.mb.ca/health/publichealth/cdc/docs/ipc/hand.pdf
 
Ten Reasons Not to Panic: https://theconversation.com/coronavirus-ten-reasons-why-you-ought-not-to-panic-132941
 
Preventing COVID-19 Spread in Communities: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/index.html?mc_cid=ad2fb316bf&mc_eid=435765ade6
 
An Infectious Disease Specialist Reflects on COVID-19: https://talbotspy.org/letter-from-toronto-an-infectious-diseases-specialist-reflects-on-corvid-19/

BCCA shared, How Does the Coronavirus Compare With the Flu? https://www.nytimes.com/2020/02/29/health/coronavirus-flu.html?referringSource=articleShare&mc_cid=ad2fb316bf&mc_eid=435765ade6
 
Coronavirus Disease 2019 (from the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention) https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html?mc_cid=ad2fb316bf&mc_eid=435765ade6

MISSION - Play a leadership role in promoting and supporting the community of organized camps, encouraging the growth and recreational experiences for children, youth and families. 

VISION - To be the recognized leader in the Manitoba camps community.

Designed by Rick Scherger - Fate Communications
©Manitoba Camping Association 2018. All Rights Reserved.

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