DALLAS - As parents and school districts work to determine what steps are the safest, they could look to daycares to give an idea of what may happen when schools restart.
As cases of COVID-19 rise in Texas, they’re also rising in childcare centers. Statewide so far, about 2,000 cases are linked to childcare centers.
Texas has seen a 110 percent increase in cases linked to childcare centers in the past two weeks.
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Just short of 2,000 cases are now connected to childcare centers in the state. A third of those cases are in children. Most are in childcare workers. In Dallas County, three of those workers have been hospitalized.
“The fact that you’ve got even two adults who have required intensive care hospitalization is concerning,” said Dallas County Health Director Dr. Philip Huang.
Dr. Huang says there are 79 cases connected to childcare facilities in the Dallas area. None of the cases in children in Dallas County have been severe, as children are far less likely to get severe symptoms, but we now know that 650 children have become infected connected to childcare centers across the state.
In Tarrant County, it’s unclear how many cases are linked to childcare specifically.
Kara Waddell, who is on the governor’s childcare COVID-19 task force, says enrollment at Fort Worth-area daycares is down by about 50 percent. She says enrollment across the state is down. Yet even with smaller class sizes, outbreaks are still happening.
“Right now with lower enrollment, we’re already at those numbers that the CDC is recommending,” she said.
“These are some things that we’re learning more about, how that spread occurs,” Dr. Huang said. “That’s part of the additional information that’s being looked at regarding school openings and all of these things.”
Waddell says childcare centers should be doing health screenings daily, not mixing classrooms and requiring masks for adults and children, if possible.
“The CDC does recommend masks for children 2 and older,” Waddell said. “So if they can wear masks for even part of the day, but that’s not required for children in the state of Texas.”
Waddell says parents should also be asking if there is a COVID case, how quickly will they find out? She says it’s a buyer’s beware situation.