Despite the rising number of women in the workforce few Canadian employers offer childcare in the workplace. (Photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS)

COVID-19 outbreaks ongoing at three central Alberta child-care facilities

COVID-19 outbreaks in child-care facilities in Alberta are becoming a growing concern.

There are outbreaks in over 80 facilities across the province, including 15 that were added to the provincial outbreak list last Friday and six in the Central zone.

Alberta’s chief medical officer of health Dr. Deena Hinshaw said the government is following these outbreaks closely.

“Some of that reporting is based on very close monitoring in those locations. We have seen that variant cases when introduced into child-care facilities, particularly the P1 variant, when those are introduced they can spread more easily than we have seen, even with the B.1.1.7 or other variant cases,” she said Monday.

“We are currently working with our teams to determine if there’s any additional interventions that need to happen in these facilities.

“It’s important to remember we have a lower threshold for reporting outbreaks in these facilities. While the number of outbreaks is high, that doesn’t necessarily mean that each outbreak has a large number of cases. We are very cautious when we are implementing quarantine measures for those who have been in close contact.”

In the Central zone, of the six child-care facilities with outbreaks, three have active cases.

Boys and Girls Club in Wetaskiwin has 10 cases, with seven active and three recovered; Kidz in the Rockies Daycare in Rocky Mountain House has five cases, all of which are active and Viking St. Francis Child Care Centre in Viking has five cases, two active and three recovered.

Kids 3 Blackfalds had 13 cases, all of which are recovered; Little Star Play School in Blackfalds had five cases that are all recovered and Boys and Girls Club Learning and Childcare Centre in Olds had three cases, all are recovered.

Daycare facilities are listed as having an outbreak status when they have five or more cases and outbreaks aren’t declared over until four weeks have passed since the last case was identified.

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