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News >  Spokane

COVID-19 case at Spokane child care center marks first at county provider

UPDATED: Wed., May 13, 2020

A toddler at Just Imagine Child Care Center has tested positive for COVID-19.
A toddler at Just Imagine Child Care Center has tested positive for COVID-19.

A toddler cared for at Just Imagine Child Care Center tested positive for COVID-19 during the weekend, marking the first case affiliated with a child care provider in Spokane County.

The center at 406 E. Rowan Ave. closed for two weeks starting Tuesday to allow staff who came into close contact with the child to get tested and self-quarantine.

The child, who did not show symptoms, was cared for despite staff performing symptom and temperature checks throughout the business day. Officials say that underscores concerns about people spreading the novel coronavirus despite having little to no symptoms.

The father of the child, Demetrius Wells, told KHQ that his daughter, who has asthma, tested positive on Sunday after she was brought to the hospital for breathing problems. Wells said his daughter has since experienced fatigue “like a normal cold” but is still playing and running around.

A state Department of Health contact tracer was assigned to the child’s case on Sunday, according to Kelli Hawkins, a health district spokesperson. That person will continue to follow the case, along with a Spokane Regional Health District epidemiologist.

Wells told KHQ he didn’t want to speculate about how his daughter contracted the novel coronavirus. He said his family plans to self-isolate for two weeks.

Just Imagine Child Care Center has asked all teachers and children who came in contact with the child to get tested for COVID-19 and self-isolate.

The Spokane Regional Health District “strongly recommends” that families of children and teachers also be tested and self-isolate, whether they were in close contact with the child or not, Hawkins said.

That includes people who do not have symptoms, but “especially if they were in close contact with the child” or have symptoms, Hawkins said.

“Not necessarily every person in the day care was in close contact,” she added.

But the health district has no way to enforce its recommendations for testing and isolation, Hawkins said.

“Contact tracing isn’t about forcing people to stay home, but it is strongly recommended to keep the community safe, to keep people you care about safe,” Hawkins said.

Hawkins said she did not know how many people came into close contact with the child or how many families were served by the facility.

Just Imagine Child Care Center did not respond to requests for comment Tuesday afternoon about the number of children and employees at the facility.

Hawkins said the health district will stay in close contact with the child care center to see whether employees and families seek out testing and whether any additional cases are confirmed.

The center already made the decision to close for two weeks before the health district became involved, Hawkins said. Officials also provided state guidelines for enhanced cleaning that school districts used.

“We just supported that decision and gave them further guidance for all their families,” Hawkins said.

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