RICHMOND, Va. (WFXR) – The Virginia Department of Health’s (VDH) Central Region is reporting an increase in COVID-19 outbreaks at childcare facilities and summer camps.
The agency is warning parents and guardians that they need to be vigilant in taking mitigation measures to protect their children from contracting and spreading COVID-19.
The Virginia Department of Labor and Industry requires that staff in childcare settings wear masks, regardless of vaccination status.
The Central Region includes the health districts of Richmond, Henrico, Chickahominy, Chesterfield, Crater, Southside, and Piedmont, which also include Halifax and Charlotte counties in our region.
Since July 1, a total of 10 COVID-19 outbreaks were reported in summer camps and 10 outbreaks in childcare and preschool facilities were reported to the VDH.
Ninety five percent of the reported cases were from unvaccinated persons.
During the same period in 2020, one outbreak each in a summer camp and a childcare/preschool facility were reported.
Many of these outbreaks include cases in children and adults who are now vaccine eligible. Since July 1, 40 percent of those unvaccinated cases in childcare facilities and summer camps were eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.
“The Delta variant spreads more than twice as easily as previous variants. Vaccination is still the best way to protect against the Delta variant, but for children not yet eligible for the vaccine, it’s important to follow proper mitigation measures – wear a mask, wash your hands, and practice social distancing.”Dr. Carolina Holsinger, Director of VDH’s Division of Surveillance and Investigation
The VDH says that regardless of the level of transmission in a given community, every childcare program should have a plan in place to protect staff, children and their families from the spread of COVID-19, including encouraging staff and eligible children to be vaccinated.
All childcare facilities and summer camps should be taking the following preventative steps to stop the spread of COVID-19:
- Wear a mask correctly, especially indoors
- Practice social distancing
- Wash hands often
The VDH also says that parents should check their child’s temperature every morning and check for any signs of illness.
To help prevent the spread of COVID-19, it is important that children who have COVID-19 or might have it do not come to childcare facilities or summer camps.
Parents should also consider having their children tested for COVID-19 before sending them to an overnight camp. Additionally, if they have been in contact with someone who has COVID-19, they should quarantine.
Guidance for childcare facilities, summer camps, and overnight camps is available on the VDH and Center for Disease Control and Prevention websites.
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