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Edmonton zone daycare with COVID-19 variant going ‘above and beyond’ AHS guidelines

Click to play video: 'Hinshaw says timeframe for COVID-19 variant case identification will improve' Hinshaw says timeframe for COVID-19 variant case identification will improve
WATCH: Alberta’s chief medical officer of health Dr. Deena Hinshaw says the timeframe for identifying positive cases of COVID-19 variants will improve, after it took weeks to notify of a variant case in an Alberta school. – Feb 4, 2021

Alberta’s chief medical officer said Thursday the daycare with a COVID-19 outbreak involving a variant of concern was in the Edmonton zone.

Earlier this week, Dr. Deena Hinshaw said four variant cases were linked to the Alberta daycare outbreak. At that time, families were still being notified so the daycare was not identified.

READ MORE: Two Calgary schools, one Alberta daycare, linked to COVID-19 variant: Hinshaw

On Thursday, the co-owners of Tot Spot Academy in St. Albert told Global News they were notified Tuesday by Alberta Health Services the variant screening of COVID-19 cases linked to their daycare came back positive.

They notified families immediately, she said.

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They were initially notified of a positive COVID-19 case on Jan. 19, Alicia said. At that time, they shut down the entire facility for 10 days. Close contacts were told to isolate for 14 days.

All staff and children were tested for COVID-19 and then tested again after AHS confirmed the variant on Tuesday.

Randall Bishop said the daycare has been “working lockstep with AHS throughout” and “went over and above” the health agency’s guidelines.

Click to play video: 'Alberta now has 68 confirmed cases of COVID-19 variant' Alberta now has 68 confirmed cases of COVID-19 variant
Alberta now has 68 confirmed cases of COVID-19 variant – Feb 4, 2021

They plan to reopen the daycare on Monday. All staff and students will be tested for a third time before returning and anyone in the cases’ cohort will have to have a negative test before returning, the Bishops said.

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“But if AHS recommends staying closed longer, we’ll stay closed,” Randall said.

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“We have not had a single case since we reopened in May,” Alicia said.

Still, they wanted to be transparent, to tackle any stigma around COVID-19 or disclosure, and do all they can to prevent any potential spread.

“We’re working with AHS, we’re trying to be as transparent as we can,” Alicia said.

Read more: Hinshaw says COVID-19 vaccine appears to be somewhat effective against variants

On Thursday, Hinshaw said she didn’t have “any information about whether or not there is any additional variant spread that’s been identified at that location.

“But additional testing is underway and the protocols relevant to variants of concern have been put in place with respect to those who are cases and close contacts at that particular daycare.”

There have now been 68 variant cases in Alberta in total.

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Hinshaw also addressed the gap in time between a case testing positive for COVID-19 and that test being screened for variants.

“That is of course a challenge,” she said. “The lab has been working very hard over the last several weeks to improve the speed of the variant screening.

“So, going forward, there will be more rapid turnaround between that first positive test result and when that screen result will be coming back.”

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