Ramah Darom, the Conservative movement's summer camp in north Georgia, is being commended for how it has handled a flu outbreak over the last week.

About 60 campers and staffers have come down with flu symptoms. Three samples selected and tested by the Georgia Public Health Lab returned positive for H1N1 influenza, commonly known as the Swine Flu.

According to an update from the camp, the H1N1 flu virus has been very similar to seasonal flu with mild to moderate symptoms and most infected persons have been recovering within 48 hours.

David Westfall, District Health Director of District 2 of Georgia, said: “I have been very impressed with the preparedness of Ramah Darom and the professionalism with which they have handled this outbreak. They are to be commended for their actions."

About half of the affected campers and staff are being treated in the infirmary. The other half are "no longer symptomatic" but the flu protocol is that they have to be separated from the rest of the camp for seven days. The affected campers are participating in "a full, daily program of typical camp activities" in a separate area of the camp.

One camper was briefly hospitalized and subsequently discharged.

Parents of all campers admitted to the infirmary with flu symptoms are notified immediately.

Ramah Darom CEO Fred Levick said, “The safety and health of our community is our top priority. We’re working closely with health authorities to monitor and care for those children and staff with symptoms and protect our general community, following all measures to limit the spread of the virus. We are fortunate that we have a facility that allows us to appropriately care for affected individuals, and safely and comfortably separate them to minimize the spread of illness.

“We were aware of this possibility, and it does not change anything concerning our care for the children, our protocols, the severity of the illness, or the separation period of seven days, which was instated at the immediate recognition of flu-like symptoms and remains appropriate for this flu strain. We have treated anyone presenting with symptoms as if they have tested positive for seasonal, Type A Influenza, and cared for them in a separate environment. This is the same course of treatment and management for H1N1. Our staff is well trained and specifically discussed health procedures even before our campers arrived, especially with so much attention focused on this flu strain over the past few months,” Levick said.

The camp has a state-of-the-art, fully equipped and supplied infirmary onsite, with a residential medical staff including at least two physicians and three nurses at all times. Additional medical support has been brought in to assist.

Ramah Darom has received guidelines from the CDC and is closely following national Ramah protocols in managing the situation and administering Tamiflu when appropriate within those guidelines. The camp medical team continues to collaborate with local hospitals and health care providers, District 2 Public Health, and the Georgia Division of Public Health, as well as experts across the country.

“We are always prepared for these types of situations, so we were able to react quickly following protocols we established months ago to insure camper safety. We are in ongoing, collaborative communication with our local hospital and health department, as well as state representatives. We are incredibly grateful for their support and expert guidance they are providing us. We are fortunate that our facilities allow us to safely treat and separate affected campers, while still engaging 400 campers and 200 staff members in our typical, daily camp activities,” Levick said.

In a letter to parents and other Ramah Darom families yesterday, Camp Director Geoffrey Menkowitz said "there are no changes to announce for second session campers. We expect to be able to fully operate a safe and healthy camp and provide an outstanding summer experience."

Ramah Darom has about 700 campers and staff.

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