You can’t bleach a ball field, but they’ve bleached just about everything else at Camp Seymour on the Key Peninsula.
The popular YMCA camp will reopen Sunday, after a shutdown that lasted almost two weeks, temporarily ending a summer adventure for 224 young people.
An outbreak of norovirus prompted the closure July 31. Camp officials and the Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department say the 106-acre camp has been scrubbed from top to bottom and cleared for use.
“We hired ServPro and Polygon,” YMCA spokeswoman Renee Quinn said. “They came to the camp and did a full sanitization.”
Officials from the health department said some campers brought the norovirus with them last month. The virus thrives in confined spaces such as cruise ships – areas where groups of people share bathrooms and dining facilities. At one point, almost 100 campers and staff members reported symptoms associated with the virus, which comes on like a bad case of stomach flu.
“It’s pretty hardy,” said Rachel Knight, the health department’s program manager for food and community safety. “It can be transmitted orally – it can be on surfaces.”
The cleanup took high concentrations of bleach – so great that a second cleanup followed in some sections. Where bleach couldn’t be used, high temperature replaced it.
“Obviously, you can’t bleach everything,” said Edie Jeffers, health department spokeswoman.
When it reopens the camp will welcome 160 campers, including a few who were forced to cut their time short because of the health scare. Most of the campers who lost time will return in two weeks, the final cycle of the season, Quinn said.