LIVERMORE FALLS — Camp Good News of Maine administrators are being “extremely cooperative” and working to correct violations the state found after 25 children and staff became sick Tuesday night, said Dr. Sheila Pinette, director of Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention, on Monday.
Some campers and staff experienced nausea, vomiting and diarrhea 2½ hours after eating dinner at the summer camp on Schoolhouse Pond.
There were approximately 100 campers and 80 staff at the camp at the time. The Camp closed Wednesday and campers and staff were sent home.
“They have been very compliant,” Pinette said. “We hope the camp will open in the near future.”
Pinette said a state health inspector was planning to go to the Camp off Campground Road in Livermore Falls on Monday afternoon.
“We’re just trying to make sure everything is safe for campers and staff so they can have a fine, healthy week,” Pinette said.
“From a licensing perspective, there were several violations, including equipment and food contact surfaces and utensils not being cleaned,” said John A. Martins, director of public and employee communications at the Maine Department of Health and Human Services.
He said state licensing officials and epidemiologists were sent to Livermore Falls to examine the facility where violations were found in and around the camp.
A message on Camp Good News Facebook page, says that “Wednesday was a sad day for us at Camp Good News. We were compelled to shut down our camping program and send all of our campers and staff home because of a great number of illnesses that had begun the night before.
“On Thursday, the Maine Center of Disease Control and the Department of Health and Human Services visited our campground to collect samples and to inspect our facility to determine the cause of the illness. Both of these Departments do not believe that it was food poisoning, but a quick spreading flu,” the message says.
Staff cleaned and disinfected the whole campground, the message says.
Pinette said camp staff are working to get the camp open as soon as possible.
On Friday, the type of illness suffered by campers and staff remained unknown. Pinette offered no further information on that Monday.
Several people commented on the Camp’s Facebook page and on the Sun Journal’s Facebook page on the story who were in support of the camp.
The camp offers a range of activities, including canoeing, archery, swimming, fishing and riflery and is part of the Child Evangelism Fellowship of Maine.