More COVID-19 outbreaks reported at Calgary daycares

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WATCH: Calgary parents are dealing with an increase in the number of positive COVID-19 cases at daycares. As Carolyn Kury de Castillo reports, there are currently eight child-care facilities listed on the Alberta Health Services outbreak list – Apr 19, 2021

There are now COVID-19 outbreaks at eight child-care facilities in the Calgary zone with a total of 117 positive cases.

Read more: Alberta COVID-19 variant strain detected in daycare outbreak, school setting

Honey Bear Day Care and Montessori Centre was on a roll. Since it reopened in May 2020, the centre’s director said it didn’t have a single case of COVID-19.

But on March 12, 2021, a staff member tested positive. Then another a few days later.

“We were recording all the temperatures, and everything was being sanitized, and it is being sanitized right now too,” said Saudamini Balik, director at Honey Bear Day Care and Montessori Centre.

“But I think the spread is even more now because people are going out and they are not taking as many precautions outside so it would enter the close-contact setting.”

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On March 15, a decision was made to shut the whole place down for two weeks despite not being required to and take a financial hit.

“It’s a close contact setting, and we have close-range conversations with children and the staff, so we decided it is better for the community to stop the spread,” Balik said.

“Of course it affects us. We are a small business but we are helping the community. Daycares and schools are helping the community. It’s a family business so we always think: what is for the betterment of the children and for the staff and the betterment of the families?”

There are currently outbreaks at eight child-care facilities in the Calgary zone that have been connected to a total of 117 COVID-19 cases. Thirty-eight are currently active.

Compare that to February when there were only six outbreaks in the whole province with just 36 cases.
In March, the provincial outbreaks jumped to 12 with 201 cases.

An outbreak is declared when there are five or more cases at one location and are declared over when four weeks have passed since the last case was identified.

Watch: Essential services daycare provides hope for Alberta child care services looking to reopen

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Balik said since they reopened at the end of March, they’ve had no cases. She thinks tough measures, like they took at her facility, might be the way to go for the whole province, despite the economic cost.

“Like they did last year when they did shut down for a while, and we reopened with very few cases. I read the news every day, and in comparison to last year’s cases, this year the cases are really high, so I think the government should do something about it like they did in Toronto. They have shut it down,” Balik said.

Last week, Alberta’s chief medical officer of health said if hospitalization numbers continue to rise, further restrictions may be required.

Since last spring, there have been about 2,500 programs open providing care to about 54,000 children. There have been 70 outbreaks reported to date.

Read more: Hinshaw warns rising COVID-19 hospitalizations could lead to more restrictions ‘soon’

Child-care outbreaks currently reported in the Calgary Zone, according to Alberta Health:

  • Active Start Childcare Country Hills Centre: six cases (all active)
  • Brightpath Southwood: eight cases (all recovered)
  • Child Enrichment Centre: 24 cases (one active, 23 recovered)
  • Honey Bear Day Care and Montessori Centre: eight cases (all recovered)
  • Kids and Company Britannia: 15 cases (all recovered)
  • Kids U – McKnight: seven cases (one active, six recovered)
  • Little Scholars Daycare & Preschool: 25 cases (nine active, 16 recovered)
  • Saddleridge Daycare: 24 cases (21 active, three recovered)

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