Virus fears at day care

Jackson Lavell-LeeBusselton Dunsborough Times
Bluebird Childcare Centre area manager Emma Strahan, Shepherd Gordon 3.
Camera IconBluebird Childcare Centre area manager Emma Strahan, Shepherd Gordon 3. Credit: Jackson Lavell-Lee

Childcare workers and parents in the Capes are concerned children were potentially exposed to COVID-19 because of the high risk of the spread of the virus from the children of healthcare workers.

Bluebird Childcare Centres founder and owner Jane Chambers said many essential workers were continuing to use daycare services in Busselton and many parents and staff had contacted her with concerns.

“We have high cleaning procedures and we are checking the children with thermometers each day and doing everything we can to not come into contact with the virus,” she said. “We need to make sure we can protect our team, who are putting themselves out there to provide the support for families during these tough times.”

In the instance a child in day care tested positive for the virus, health department officials in personal protection equipment would disinfect the environment and ensure the facility could reopen as soon as possible.

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“We have reduced our numbers to create as much social distancing as possible and we transport a lot of children to and from their homes to reduce the number of people coming to our services,” Ms Chambers said.

Vasse MLA Libby Mettam said child care was an essential service and the nature of the work meant workers could not observe recommended social distancing with young children who demanded close contact and care.

“Childcare workers are caring for the children of essential workers who are acknowledged to be at higher risk for COVID-19,” she said.

“Many of the small number of children who are still enrolled are children of healthcare staff on the front line, placing childcare workers at greater risk than the majority of West Australians.”

Despite her concerns, a State Government spokesman said childcare workers experiencing symptoms consistent with COVID-19 should self-isolate and present for testing at the earliest opportunity but were not at a high risk of contracting the disease.

“It is worth noting that the incidence of community transmission in Western Australia is very low — to date, most cases are related to overseas travel,” he said.

“However, I would encourage all workers — including those at childcare centres — to remain vigilant about their hygiene and social-distancing practices and closely monitor their own health.”

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