June 22, 2017
PSA #2 Regarding Norovirus

Thursday, June 22, 2017
for free release

To our Visitors and Friends

Yesterday, Wednesday June 21st, we completed a day long round of inspections and testing of our facilities by over a dozen Pennsylvania State representatives from the Departments of Environmental Protection, Sewage Enforcement, Food Service Licensing, our Township Authorities and The Pennsylvania Bureau of Epidemiology. We would like to commend these professionals for their thorough work in the face of ever increasing budget cuts.

The following presumes that the reader is knowledgeable, especially of Norovirus, and I recommend Wikipedia@Norovirus as a primer.

PA DEP conducted spot chlorine testing of drinking water spigots located throughout camp and found proper levels in all cases. Our latest monthly laboratory test samples were reported on June 12th, 2017 as perfect; with new test samples collected today to repeat our monthly testing. We were asked to remove a bypass valve from our delivery manifold to eliminate any possibility of non-chlorinated water entering the final supply.

Sewage Enforcement did a complete inspection of our sewage facilities and found them all to be in good working condition. Our lines, service risers, tanks and leach field are in good condition. The cracked pipe joint of June 2016 was found to be in good repair and to have been repaired in a timely manner. Our kitchen baffle box (which exists to catch fabric objects flushed into the system) was examined and worked as intended. We have volunteered to bypass the kitchen baffle box and install a new expanded unit in front of the Upper Shower House. The testing and permitting for a new sewage system to be installed in the Members Camping Area will continue.

Food Service Licensing cited our kitchen for a leaking faucet, lack of an anti-siphon coupling, lack of pavement under our outdoor grill and other small items that had been passed in it's previous inspections. We will be reinspected Friday, June 23rd.

Our Township Supervisor offered his advice and support throughout the day.

Scientists from the Pennsylvania Bureau of Epidemiology took exhaustive interviews of our staff; and made a thorough tour of all of our camp facilities during the first part of the day, with their physical sample taking ongoing throughout the day. As scientists they will not discuss their investigation strategies or communicate opinions until they have concluded data collection and analysis, and can state fact. They do emphasize that parties they interview will never, ever have their privacy breached, or their identities revealed in public. We at Four Quarters wish to emphasize that we will never, ever reveal the identities of persons or venues whose contact information, times of arrival, illness or travel patterns we have provided to the scientific investigators. Norovirus in any kind of sample is difficult to positively identify, and is tested for at regional or national labs. Samples are forwarded for such testing and the results will only be released to the parties concerned, or as part of an official release.

Pending confirmation, the general consensus is that we have suffered outbreaks of Norovirus. It may possibly be a fast moving variant taking advantage of surface, to hand, to mouth transmission; and traveling the transportation corridors. Moving forward the following recommendations have been made:
* Our registration process will include affirmations of present good health and prompt notification to our EMS of any emerging symptoms.
* We will temporarily quarantine two suspected entry point epicenters as a precaution to preserve those campsites as test results are analyzed.
* We will provide even more hand-wash stations and we will aggressively educate in the critical importance of their regular use.
* We will continue and expand our policies of education and awareness, including detailed workshops at both Drum and Splash, and BigDub.

In closing we wish to again express our sympathy and concern to those people who have experienced this contagion, and our appreciation to those who have shared with us their medical histories.

Orren Whiddon, Treasurer
Four Quarters InterFaith