Madison (WKOW)-Dozens of people later became ill Outbreak with COVID-19 variant at Child Care Center in Dane County -And other child care centers in our area are becoming more and more concerned.
The facilities in Dane County that were involved in the outbreak have not been publicly identified. Public Health Madison and Dane County say the variant is B.1.1.7, the first to be discovered in the United Kingdom. Twenty-one children and nursery teachers are positive, and 14 families are also ill.
It reminds us that the pandemic isn’t over yet. And new attention is being paid to the COVID-19 variant and its effects on children.
Brooke Skidmore, director of The Growing Tree, a child care facility for 40 children under the age of 10 in New Glaras, said:
Skidmore says he’s trying to divide the kids into cohorts and keep them out of the mix, but that’s all they can do.
“Children are incapable of trying to cover their mouths at a distance when they sneeze at the age of one,” she said.
Dr. Alison Schwartz of SSM Health states that the Child Care Center is “the perfect incubator for infectious diseases.” She says the variants found in the Dane County Center outbreak are of particular concern.
“One of the things they see, especially in the British variant, is that it seems to spread more easily among children,” Dr. Schwartz said.
Currently, there is no approved coronavirus vaccine for children under the age of 16. Pfizer reported 100% efficacy in a vaccine study in children under 12 years of age.
Dr. Schwartz says they will soon begin testing young children.
“Pfizer’s plan was to move the next age group from 6 months to 11 years as soon as the registration of the 12-15 groups was completed,” she said.
Childcare in Wisconsin has been hurt before the pandemic. They are understaffed because providers say they are underfunded-and it is difficult to attract qualified staff to high-risk jobs with such a small wage.
Skidmore said a vaccine for children could help, but it’s not a silver bullet and isn’t here yet.
“We will continue to do what we can as safely as possible,” she said. “And try to keep our children safe and the community safe, but now that species keeps you up late, the variant is an additional risk.”
Most of the children in the Dane County nursery showed very mild symptoms. Health officials say they emphasize the importance of testing.
“Of course, if you notice fever, cough, malaise, headache, muscle aches, stuffy nose, or sore throat, leave your child at home,” said Janel Heinrich, director of PHMDC. “And if you think it’s allergic now, just go take the test.”
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