Even before Howard Salzberg announced his intention to open the gates of Camp Modin In Belgrade, Maine, he was pitched for the summer despite a drumstorm to cancel during the coronavirus pandemic. And pitched and pitched and pitched.
From the companies that sell masks, face shields, gloves and massive tents as you would see at an outdoor wedding. From the companies driving plans for chartered planes and buses to transport campers from Miami, Boston and New York. From the guys from the latest thermometer. From the hand disinfection station people.
But mostly there are entrepreneurs who sell services to test for the virus. “This was the wild west of the tests,” said Salzberg. “Everyone wants to test.”
The summer camp is one of the first industries with an urgent deadline to find out how to get a large number of people back to a place. It’s something of a laboratory for companies, some of which have been hastily founded and are trying out the consumer testing market. Now schools, universities, corporate offices and entertainment venues are also being set up. You will see how the opening for summer camps works.
“Camp is the guinea pig,” said Mr. Salzberg. More specifically, the guinea pigs are children who are statistically less susceptible to acute symptoms of Covid-19.
“A hot, hot topic”
Lori and Joey Waldman have operated Camp Blue Ridge in Clayton, Ga., since 1992, after taking over Mr. Waldman’s parents, who opened the camp in 1969.
The Waldmans took into account pitches from two companies and also made other offers, including one that bragged about a connection to a friend who worked for President Trump’s government and could help them get tests, and another that claimed it Vice President Mike Pence’s brother (whom this person claims to know could help them save tests that only take 30 seconds to complete).
“They are crawling out of the wood,” said Ms. Waldman.
It all seemed too good to be true, and the Waldmans decided not to open camps as usual this summer. “We just decided that this is no longer testable,” she said, “and nobody has the answers.”
In countries where government health officials allow overnight camps to operate, the camps seek quarantine-like conditions in which children and most employees stay on the premises throughout the summer.
There is still a lot of uncertainty. This is where test services come into play. They are marketed by companies like Fast reliable teststhat was created in April.
The other man, Joe Hoenig, 56, told the webinar attendees that he was a former man warehouse The director and current warehouse owner was hired by Rapid Reliable Testing as a consultant to connect with the warehouse managers.
Mr. Hoenig emailed many in the field. “I know that these are difficult times for warehouses and difficult decisions to be made. Time is of the essence! We all need to be prepared when we have the green light to open the camp this summer. We are a large healthcare company that runs Covid 19 tests for large companies and organizations, ”he wrote. (A spokesman for Rapid Reliable Testing said he could not name these “large companies and organizations.”)
Rapid Reliable Testing is a subsidiary of the company that is the owner Ambulance, a private fleet of vehicles driven and operated by health care providers for non-urgent transportation that often return patients to nursing homes and rehabs after medical procedures.
“Think of us as the Uber for ambulances,” said Matityahu, vice president of strategy and special projects for both companies.
During the peak of the Coronavirus crisis in New York in March and April, Ambulnz was subcontracted by the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s response efforts to non-emergency patient transport, some of whom had Covid-19. The company created a protocol for testing its employees.
However, the rest of Ambulnz’s business was impacted by home orders that restricted the unnecessary procedures.
Given the prospect of firing some of its workforce and after Ambulnz was asked by a nursing home to help test its employees, Ambulnz executives decided to start another company that would meet the expected demand for consumer testing and also offer the opportunity , EMTs and idle other healthcare workers, said Anthony Capone, the chief technology officer for Ambulnz and Rapid Reliable Testing.
The 32-year-old Capone worked with to conduct the tests Mako Medical, a six-year-old laboratory company in North Carolina that performs medical tests, including routine blood tests and genome tests. Mako Medical has performed more than 100,000 coronavirus tests since March, said the company’s chief operating officer. Josh Arant31
Mr. Matityahu (posted by Ambulnz in January from Stan Vashovsky, 47, company founder) had the idea to first target the summer camp market. “I have a passion for the camp,” Matityahu said in an interview.
He also radiated excitement for the camp participants and told them, “I’ve been camp director for 9 years.”
(A representative of Moshava camp in Honesdale, Pennsylvania said that Mr. Matityahu was a camper, consultant, and water sports director. Mr. Matityahu also led large groups of teenagers on summer trips to Israel for several summers. Most recently, he worked for WeWork and managed special projects in the office of the former C.E.O. Adam Neumann.)
During the webinar, Mr. Matityahu reminded the warehouse managers of their problem: “No one of us wants to be known as” Covid Camp “when we call,” he said, offering a solution.
Investing in test services sold by Rapid Reliable, which would cost $ 137.50 per test, will help achieve the goal of “reducing the risk of Covid-19 and its spread,” he said. The test results would take no longer than 48 hours.
He said the camps would retest each camper on arrival and several times in the summer: six times for a seven-week session and four times for a five-week session.
“We are here to offer our laboratory partners like Mako Labs services a turnkey solution that allows you to test not only your campers, but all your staff, the front-end and back-end of the camp,” said Matityahu .
Last week, Rapid Reliable sent an email to potential camp customers saying that the price would be reduced to around $ 90 per test.
Through Mako Medical, Rapid Reliable offers a test in which a healthcare professional inserts a swab in the middle of a child’s nose – “like the Hamptons for the virus,” as a doctor put it – and turns it to take a sample .
Most of what we know about coronavirus comes from adults with symptoms. “It is very difficult to make a statement that the data between children and adults are 100 percent comparable or 100 percent not,” said Arant. “But we haven’t seen a big difference so far.”
Many of these tests can have high rates of false negatives. Various tests are carried out in some camps: before the start of the session, on arrival and several times in summer.
“We are the type necologist,” he said Jason Feldman, 48, one of the founders of the company. “Women have good access to medical care that men do not have.”
He said research has shown that 70 percent of men do not receive routine annual physical surgery and that men die an average of five years younger than women. The idea was: “If we could help them with their physical, sexual, and mental performance,” he said, “we might also be able to help them prevent heart disease. We are not the online pharmacy that sells sex drugs. “
In his work for Vault, Mr. Feldman has built a relationship with RUCDR Infinite Biologics, a laboratory services company at Rutgers University, the one Collection set for at home.
Mr. Feldman realized that the Rutgers laboratory could help him open the camps and shifted his focus from men’s health. “It was a coincidence,” said Mr. Feldman, who previously worked for The Body Shop and was head of the until last year Prime Video Direct Division on Amazon.
Here’s his pitch to camps: they provide their campers’ parents with a link to the Vault platform, and the parents sign up and request a coronavirus test. A kit will then arrive overnight via UPS. It is a plastic tube that you spit into, much like the DNA test kits for consumers known on popular genealogy websites.
The parents enter a Vault Zoom room and contact a doctor who watches the child spit into the tube and checks that the child provides the sample. The online doctor also ensures that the child delivers enough spittle and properly reseals the hose. The sample is thrown into a UPS nightbox and ends up in the Rutgers laboratory in New Jersey. The results come back within 48 hours.
“We currently have no data to suggest that the test should perform poorly in children,” he said Dr. Alex Pastuszak, 41, a urologist who is the clinical director of Vault.
Each test costs approximately $ 150.
How much camp will there be?
In New York, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced Earlier this week, the state will allow day camps to open on June 29 and decide “in the coming weeks” whether night camps may be operated.
Jay Jacobs, 64, has six camps, three sleep-away camps, and three day camps in New York and Pennsylvania. He plans to open the day camp and a night camp, relying on the services of Vault and Rapid Reliable Testing for campers and employees. He will pay for the examination of his employees. Parents pay for the campers’ exam before leaving for camp, and Mr. Jacobs pays for the subsequent tests that are carried out on the campers.
Amidst the uncertainty, Mr. Jacobs tried to calm the nerves of the parents by sharing the details of his test approach in several long emails with the parents. “While we choose to make a different decision than some of our colleagues, we more than respect their decisions. We simply believe that with resources, knowledge and a lot of hard work we can safely open and run the camp, ”wrote Jacobs, who is also the one Chairperson of the New York State Democratic Committee.
But camps will only be the guinea pigs for a short time. The rest of us are next.
A camp in Wisconsin had hoped to test incoming campers with a saliva test that would deliver results in 30 minutes – but this month told parents that it would move on to Test Plan B.
“The test we wanted to do at the bus location doesn’t seem to be an option for us anymore,” the camp warned the parents this month, “as the demand for this test has increased dramatically as we now work with large organizations such as the NHL , Hollywood Studios and Amazon. “