Monticello camp undergoing wipe down to rid grounds of norovirus

Monticello --Cleaning continues at a Monticello camp that was forced to close after dozens of campers and staffers contracted the norovirus.

Public health officials say they believe the virus was brought into 4-H Memorial Camp in Monticello by a patron. But with more than 300 campers a day, and double that number during drop off, identifying the starting source is unlikely. So now the focus is on wiping down and starting fresh.

 4-H Memorial Camp was oddly empty Monday afternoon.

"Nobody wanted to cancel camp, especially me," says director Curt Sinclair. "But it was the only thing to do that was responsible. It was not a fun decision."
But one that needed to be made after a contagious virus spread quickly from cabin to cabin last week, infecting more than 50 campers and staffers in less than two days.

"We had a lot of cases of vomiting, lesser cases of diarrhea, we had multiple people who had headaches, and some with mild fevers," says David Remmert, a public health administrator at the Dewitt-Piatt Bi-County Health Department.

"We got a positive result Friday afternoon that there was a norovirus identified," said Sinclair. "And that helps know what to do."

So now, it's time for a clean up.

"Bleach solutions to wipe mattresses down, to mop floors with, to hit every hard surface that is very common for many people to touch logically," said Sinclair. "You're looking at door handles and faucets and everything you can think of that everyone's hands go on."

While trying new techniques to avoid another outbreak altogether.

"We know the hand sanitizers are useful and we haven't supplied those in the past, we will," said Sinclair. "The health department says that's not a catch all end all, but it sure wouldn't hurt."

This week's summer camp session at 4-H is the only one that was canceled, however, all other session are full.

Sinclair also says camp organizers are thinking of a way to give preference to this year's displaced campers when registration for next year rolls around.

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