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Tuolumne County health officials to decide when SF Yosemite camp can reopen


  • Mather Family Camp in Groveland. Photo: Leah Millis, The Chronicle

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From left, Ryan Henspetter, Jared Katz, Isadora Katz, 7, Dominique Katz, Roscoe Katz, 5, and Mabel, 4, and Katheryn Henspetter play music and hang out near Birch Lake July 8, 2015 at Mather Family Camp in Groveland, Calif. The California State Water Board’s curtailment notice served to San Francisco Public Utilities Commission could affect the water supply at the popular San Francisco family summer camp. less
From left, Ryan Henspetter, Jared Katz, Isadora Katz, 7, Dominique Katz, Roscoe Katz, 5, and Mabel, 4, and Katheryn Henspetter play music and hang out near Birch Lake July 8, 2015 at Mather Family Camp in … more
Photo: Leah Millis, The Chronicle





Tuolumne County health officials will help decide Wednesday whether Camp Mather will reopen next weekend as planned, after a viral outbreak that sickened at least 27 people at the popular family camp near Yosemite National Park.

Dr. Robert Bernstein, the health officer for Tuolumne County who inspected the camp Friday with Dr. Tomás Aragón of the San Francisco Department of Public Health, said representatives of the San Francisco Recreation and Park Department, which operates the camp, had been “very cooperative” in following his recommendations to close the camp for a thorough cleaning.


But if the camp had not voluntarily agreed to comply, he said, “further discussions would have led to our requiring its shutdown.”

The Recreation and Park Department announced Friday it is canceling the six-day camp session that was set to begin Sunday, and issuing refunds to the 500 campers scheduled to attend. The closure will cost the city about $250,000 in lost revenue.


The department said it planned to reopen the camp next Sunday, but Bernstein said that will happen only if the outbreak is under control.

The outbreak seemed to be confined largely to camp employees, Bernstein said, although he acknowledged that the 27 cases may not have included guests who did not report their illnesses. Symptoms, which generally last one or two days, include vomiting, fever and diarrhea.

More than $3 million taxpayer dollars were spent on rescuing visitors in 2017. Veuer’s Sam Berman has the full story.


Media: Buzz 60








After the outbreak in late June, when one staff member was treated for dehydration and other symptoms at a Sonora hospital, a county environmental officer visited the camp. The officer discovered that the temperature of the dining hall dishwasher had been set too low and found what Bernstein said were other “minor issues,” all of which he said have been corrected.


During the shutdown, Bernstein said, the camp would conduct a “full bleaching operation” of the dining hall, bathhouses and other facilities.

The 94-year-old camp, a mile west of Yosemite National Park, is considered the jewel of the San Francisco park system. Each week in summer, 500 guests and 70 employees live in simple cabins and tents, sharing the dining hall and bathhouses.


Steve Rubenstein is a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer. Email: srubenstein@sfchronicle.com Twitter: @SteveRubeSF

Article source: https://www.sfgate.com/bayarea/article/Local-health-officials-will-decide-when-SF-13056754.php