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An association representing Quebec summer camps says at least three overnight camps have temporarily shut down following COVID-19 outbreaks, mostly among counsellors.

Association des camps du Quebec executive director Eric Beauchemin says about 500 children and staff were sent back home over the past few days.

Beauchemin says there were no COVID-19 outbreaks at overnight camps last summer, which were allowed to reopen after they were prohibited to operate for the summer of 2020 because of the pandemic.

He says widespread staff shortages are making the situation even harder to handle, adding that there are little to no COVID-19 health orders in place compared with last summer.

Beauchemin says his group is meeting with Health Department officials today and will ask them to reimpose some health orders, such as mandatory masking and COVID-19 testing for children and staff before they arrive to camps.

Dr. Don Vinh of the McGill University Health Centre says the provincial government is promoting a return to normal life after the pandemic without imposing enough health measures, such as proper ventilation and increased access to COVID-19 testing.

This story was produced with the financial assistance of the Meta and Canadian Press News Fellowship.

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