Is it safe to camp in a camping cabin in a county park?
June 14, 2020 5:53 PM   Subscribe

I wanted to go out and celebrate the Solstice--or the 4th--or my birthday-- and got then I got a little sqiucky before I reserved it.

It is a small (3 cabins) bring your own linens and food with a shared (two cabins) vault toilet (but I could sanitize that) I'd be very surprised if they did deep cleaning/santitizing since the onus seems to be on the renter to sweep & mop, and so on. No running water but I seem to recall a pump outside. And, it's adorable.
I'm not worried about contact with people as people out there tend to keep to themselves. (Last time (New Years' Eve) it was just me and the ranger!
I've been 95% quarantined (but no people, just trips to the country to take photographs, pick up food, and so on) as I am a risky group.
So--what do you think? Will the pesky germs be waiting for me? (They seem to keep changing the time the virus can last on hard and soft surfaces...)
posted by intrepid_simpleton to Health & Fitness (12 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Best answer: I am not an epidemiologist, but I don't think an epidemiologist would recommend sharing a bathroom with someone you don't know right now (unless it's unavoidable), especially since you're in a high-risk group. "Better safe than sorry" sounds like it applies here, at least in my own calculus.
posted by k8lin at 6:05 PM on June 14, 2020 [1 favorite]

I think you’ll be fine. Everything I’ve read lately is that infection usually occurs in close, indoor, extended interactions. Going out in the woods and maybe being near a few other people would feel pretty low risk to me.
posted by gnutron at 6:21 PM on June 14, 2020 [3 favorites]

Best answer: I suggest that you consult with a medical provider who can give you advice tailored to your specific situation.
posted by katra at 6:23 PM on June 14, 2020 [4 favorites]

Best answer: Using a shared toilet won't be an issue because there won't be any cloud of fluid droplets from the previous user's flush, because there's no flush. You should be fine if you use disinfectant wipes on the seat and door handle before and after use.

You might want to book for the day before you plan to arrive so that any previous visitors' germs have a chance to die off.
posted by monotreme at 6:30 PM on June 14, 2020

Best answer: The vault toilet is the weak link here. Bring a bucket and some garbage bags and just don’t use it. Have fun!
posted by HotToddy at 6:44 PM on June 14, 2020 [3 favorites]

I think you're pretty unlikely to catch it there, but you may have it already and feel fine while you travel there. Consider what it would be like if you start feeling sick while there, how far away from home it is, and all that. This has kept me very near home, more than worry about catching it while out. I have camped within an hour of home, because I think if I start feeling wonky for any reason I can pack up and drive home in an hour and probably be fine. If it's a full day's travel away, no way.
posted by fritley at 6:47 PM on June 14, 2020 [2 favorites]

Best answer: Yeah, use a bucket with a garbage bag full of kitty litter instead of the shared toilet. And bring your own jugs of water so you don't even have to use the pump.

Do you have to interact with anyone to get a park pass or anything? That seems the more risky part. Though I'd bring some bleach/peroxide wipes and sanitize all the surfaces.
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 7:33 PM on June 14, 2020

Response by poster: I've been feeling well since March 15. Prior to that, I had what I really believe was Covid-19 (it was like nothing I'd ever had before). The county park is about 20-30 minutes from my house.

Regardng interacting: It's all on-line now (he'll have my make and model and license plate), yet very informal as there are only three cabins. My guess is I won't even wave hi.

Thank you everyone, this is good input.
posted by intrepid_simpleton at 7:39 PM on June 14, 2020 [1 favorite]

Can you get an antibody test before you go? If you think you already have it, and test positive for antibodies, that goes a long way to making this a safe decision.
posted by ananci at 8:59 PM on June 14, 2020

(I mean already *had* it)
posted by ananci at 11:18 PM on June 14, 2020

Note that antibody tests have a fairly high false positive/false negative rate. The exact rate depends on how prevalent covid has been in your area. For most places in the United States, that's somewhere between 5-10%, based on nasal swab testing (now that the supply chain issues on nasal swabs have been mostly resolved, I'm less worried that we're missing a bunch of infected people).

From the CDC: "For example, in a population where the prevalence is 5%, a test with 90% sensitivity and 95% specificity will yield a positive predictive value of 49%. In other words, less than half of those testing positive will truly have antibodies."

We also don't know how long antibody-conferred immunity lasts, but that's another question. As someone (I think here on Metafilter) said, best to think of this as Schrodinger's virus: you are capable of both infecting someone else, and being infected yourself.
posted by basalganglia at 3:53 AM on June 15, 2020

> You might want to book for the day before you plan to arrive so that any previous visitors' germs have a chance to die off.

If you do that: a lot of parks cancel your reservation if you don't show up the first day, so you might want to contact them and let them know you might be a late arrival.
posted by The corpse in the library at 9:17 AM on June 15, 2020

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