OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — One-hundred confirmed cases of COVID-19 are linked to an Omaha childcare center, according to Justin Frederick, Supervisor of Communicable Disease Epidemiology for Douglas County.
On March 18, 3 News Now reported that Rosewood Academy Childcare & Preschool, near 158th and Fort Street, was linked to 23 confirmed cases of COVID-19. By Friday afternoon, Douglas County Health Department (DCHD) confirmed that 100 cases of COVID-19 are now connected to the childcare center. Many of the cases were caused by the U.K. variant, called B.1.1.7.
DCHD said more than half of the center's staff and attendees were affected by the outbreak. It also confirmed that infants were among the cases.
The county health department is continuing to encourage residents to sign-up for the COVID-19 vaccine once they become eligible. Childcare providers currently qualify for the vaccine.
“It is crucial that childcare providers get vaccinated,” Health Director Dr. Adi Pour said. “Childcare providers are eligible for the vaccine and can easily make an appointment on the DCHD website.”
Friday evening Rosewood Academy issued the following statement sent to 3 News Now by a local public relations firm:
The health and safety of children, families and staff are the top priority of Rosewood Academy Childcare and Preschool. The spread of the United Kingdom (UK) variant at Rosewood Academy aligns with anywhere it is present – it spreads more easily, and children are more susceptible to it. Procedures and protocols for prevention are the same as other variants of the virus, utilizing thorough screening processes, hand washing and cleaning procedures with staff members, children and families.
Before closing our Northwest location on March 18, Rosewood Academy went beyond the requirements of public health experts and sent children home if they presented a fever above 99 degrees, rather than the 100.4 requirement. A difficulty with the highly transmissible UK variant is that children are often asymptomatic during daily temperature screening procedures.
For more than a year of navigating the pandemic, because of strict procedures and vigilant practices, all three Rosewood Academy Childcare and Preschool locations stayed open without interruption until the UK variant caused many of the COVID-19 infections involving staff members and children at our Northwest location. The outbreak has been limited to one location.
Rosewood Academy Childcare and Preschool continues to work closely and proactively with the Douglas County Health Department and families. Families and staff are receiving ongoing communication and instruction on quarantine requirements before returning to Rosewood Academy and Preschool. Staff members are expected to continue to report COVID symptoms and are required to fulfill quarantine requirements outlined by the Douglas County Health Department after any positive test result, which has always been the procedure since the arrival of the virus. Rosewood Academy Childcare and Preschool will continue to work closely and cooperate with the Douglas County Health Department to monitor this situation and encourage families and staff to get the vaccine as quickly as they are able.
DCHD stressed that childcare workers need to execute the basics of fighting COVID-19 including hand hygiene and mask wearing. Pour also said that quarantine and isolation procedures need to be followed at childcare facilities.
DCHD said it has worked with Rosewood on mitigation procedures in order to help them re-open.
To make a COVID-19 vaccination appointment, go to www.douglascountyhealth.com . Click on the yellow box that says “COVID-19 Vaccination Appointment Sign-Up.” Then simply follow the instructions. Anyone needing assistance can call DCHD’s Information Line at (402) 444-3400.