For Immediate Release
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Rowan County COVID-19 Case Information: https://bit.ly/rowan-covid19-hub
COVID-19 Cases Soar in Local Early Childhood Education Programs
Early Childhood Education (ECE) programs are a key part of the infrastructure of our community. They provide safe and supportive care environments for children that support social and emotional development, provide access to critical services, and improve life outcomes. Here recently though, COVID-19 has hit our local early childhood centers like never before. Over the past month, Rowan County has seen over 500 cases of COVID-19 in our local ECE sites with children 0-4 years of age.
With that being said and realizing that Omicron now accounts for 99% of our current sequenced COVID-19 tests here in Rowan County, it is critical that parents work with their respective ECE directors to make sure that all state guidance is being followed. Most importantly, parents need to make sure that they are not bringing their sick child back too early to their child’s ECE site. This especially applies to a child that is under 2 years of age and who is not able to wear a face mask safely. At the same time, a child over 2 years of age that is not yet old enough to be vaccinated and who will not and cannot keep their mask on correctly should not return until 10 days after the specimen collection date or the first day their symptoms appeared.
If your child is willing and is able to wear their mask correctly over their nose and around their chin throughout the duration of the day, there a possibility that your child could be allowed to return after the fifth day of exposure/illness. Please note, however, that there are many nuances that apply to whether it is safe for your child to return or not. With that being the case, Rowan County Public Health (RCPH) highly suggests that you reference the ChildCareStrongNC Public Health Toolkit, specifically pages 12-14, and work with your ECE Director to determine when it is safest for your child to return.
Please be aware that if your child is in an ECE program and does test positive, RCPH will contact you with further instructions on what to do. In addition to this, RCPH will also contact the individual ECE agency to inform them that your child is sick and what steps they need to take. It is important to realize, however, that your child’s ECE Director has the final authority in whether your child can stay at their center and/or return.
In closing, RCPH realizes how frustrating this can be for a family in so many ways, and we hope that we will soon be able to see a reduction in cases within the next few weeks. More importantly, it looks very promising that Pfizer will be offering a vaccine for children under 5 years old in the coming weeks. This vaccine will not only reduce the severity of COVID-19 that we are seeing in some children, but it will also help our infants and toddlers to hopefully be able return to the classroom in a more timely manner.
In the meantime, if you are a local ECE program and you would like more information and/or a presentation for your staff on the state’s most up-to-date guidance, please feel free to contact Teresa Mowery at 704-216-8806 or Teresa.email@example.com. Also, if you are a parent with additional questions and/or concerns, please feel free to contact our COVID-19 team. Hopefully with everyone’s cooperation, we can overcome this soon!
Download Media Release COVID-19 - February 02, 2022 (PDF)