Prevention Measures In Child Care Centers
Wilkes Community Partnership for Children and Wilkes Health would like to address the community’s concerns regarding child care settings in Wilkes County as it pertains to COVID-19. We understand that there may be questions regarding the health and safety of children while in child care, so we want to highlight all of the precautions that child care providers are taking to keep the virus out of Centers and Family Child Care Homes. Directors of child care facilities, The Partnership for Children, Wilkes Health and the State of NC are doing everything in their power to provide a safe place for your children while
they are in child care settings. We are very proud of our Wilkes County child care providers and want to note the hard work and dedication that they have all put in to keeping our community a safer place during this time of crisis.
Wilkes Community Partnership for Children operates as a support system for child care within Wilkes County. The Partnership has helped Centers and Family Child Care Homes obtain supplies necessary to meet the guidance set forth by North Carolina’s Department of Health and Human Services so that they may remain open. The Partnership for Children’s Child Care Health Consultant serves as a liaison between child care facilities and Wilkes Health. The Child Care Health Consultant is in constant contact with Wilkes County Child Care Centers and Family Child Care Homes, and collaborates with Wilkes Health to facilitate communication, advocate on behalf of child care providers, share guidance and obtain resources as needed. North Carolina’s Department of Health and Human Services determined that child care is essential and allowed child care facilities to remain open upon an agreement to adhere to new strict guidance in addition to their set child care rules. In Wilkes and across the state, some centers decided it was best to close for the time being, some have remained open, and some centers have only recently reopened their doors. At times, it has been a daunting task for child care providers to find cleaning
supplies, hand sanitizer, toilet paper and in some cases enough food or milk to supply meals and snacks. Nevertheless, child care providers in Wilkes County have been able to follow all necessary precautions and rules to help prevent the virus from entering the building and to continue keeping your children safe while in their care. New rules include intensified sanitation and hygiene practices, drop off and pick up procedure changes, daily health screening and additional exclusion criteria to help prevent the spread of the virus. Enhanced screening criteria consists of monitoring all staff and children for signs or
symptoms of the virus, temperature checks at arrival and throughout the day, and posting signage on front doors for families to review daily. In addition, social distancing strategies allow no congregating at drop off or pick up, visitors are not permitted, playground times must be staggered, and classes should include the same children in a group each day with the same child care provider. Cloth face coverings are being used in some centers at this time during Phase 1. NC DHHS recommends a face cloth covering for everyone in the center over the age of 2, when feasible (can reliably wear, remove, and handle masks
following CDC guidelines). It is every child care provider’s top priority to keep your children safe and healthy. The Partnership for Children and Wilkes Health can assure you that all appropriate precautions are being taken to help prevent the virus from entering our child care facilities.
Wilkes Health also wants to remind the public that community transmission is happening in Wilkes County. Every person is a potential carrier, even if no symptoms are present, so it’s urgent that every person -sick or healthy- stay home to the fullest extent possible and help break the chain of transmission. Wilkes Health wants to continue to encourage people to protect themselves to help lessen the spread of COVID-19 in our community. There are many ways we can all protect ourselves and our communities. If you have symptoms consistent with COVID-19, we would recommend you be tested. This means if you are sick with a fever, cough or other mild symptoms, call your healthcare provider or Wilkes Health. Please do not just show up to a doctor’s office without calling first. This will help your provider prepare should you need to be tested and lessen the potential exposure to others.
If you go out you should practice the three W’s: Wear, Wait, and Wash.
•Wear a face covering,
•Wait 6 feet apart from other people.
•Wash your hands often and
How to Protect Yourself:
- Practice social distancing which means avoiding gatherings of more than 10 people, keeping 6 feet or more between you and others and remaining at home to the greatest extent possible
- Frequent hand washing
- Cover your cough or sneeze
- Keep distance from others who are sick
- Avoid touching your face
- Clean and disinfect high touch surfaces in common areas like doorknobs, remotes, lightswitches, tables and handles
- Wear cloth mask or face covering when out in public where you may be around people like grocery stores or pharmacies.
COVID-19 Signs & Symptoms:
- Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure. According to the CDC, people with COVID-19 have had a wide range of reported symptoms.
- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- Repeated shaking with chills
- Muscle pain
- Sore throat
- New loss of taste or smell
People at high risk include anyone who:
- Is 65 years of age or older
- Lives in a nursing home or long-term care facility
- Have a high-risk condition that includes:
- Chronic lung disease or moderate to severe asthma
- Heart disease with complications
- Compromised immune system
- Severe obesity – body mass index (BMI) of 40 or higher
- Other underlying medical conditions, particularly if not well controlled, such as diabetes, renal failure or liver disease
People who are at high risk should stay home to the greatest extent possible to decrease the chance of infection.
Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) website at www.cdc.gov/coronavirus.
North Carolina resources can be found on the Division of Public Health website at www.ncdhhs.gov/coronavirus. To view the case count for North Carolina, including a county map, please visit the NC DHHS website here.
A COVID-19 toll free helpline has been set up to answer general, non-emergent questions at 1-866-462-3821. To submit questions online, go to www.ncpoisoncontrol.org and select “chat.”