New Brunswick

Fredericton daycare has confirmed case of COVID-19

Health officials are tracking down anyone who may have had contact with a child-care centre in Fredericton where someone recently tested positive for COVID-19. 

Parents receive letter from Public Health, but government officials decline to name the facility

The letter from Public Health did not say whether the person who tested positive was a child or an adult. (Charles Contant/CBC)

Health officials are tracking down anyone who may have had contact with a child-care centre in Fredericton where someone recently tested positive for COVID-19. 

Although government officials wouldn't confirm the case, a letter from Public Health identified the preschool as the site of a confirmed case. 

The letter sent to parents, dated April 4, did not say whether the person who tested positive was a child or an adult.

 "Given the confirmed case, Public Health is asking you to contact Public Health for an assessment if your child had any of the symptoms listed below since March 10," the letter said. 

It went on to list headache, runny or stuffy nose, achiness, fever, cough and difficulty breathing.

Department traces contacts

Without talking about a specific case, Alysha Elliott, a communications officer with the Department of Health, said that once a case is confirmed, "Public Health officials will commence contact tracing to identify and manage the contacts of probable or confirmed COVID-19 cases.

The purpose is to rapidly identify secondary cases that may arise from transmission from the primary known cases and to intervene to interrupt further onward transmission."

Elliott said the child-care centre was not one of those continuing to offer care to the children of essential workers and has been closed since March 16, when most daycares were ordered by the province to shut their doors. 

Calls and emails to the pre-school went unanswered on Monday. 

The province's chief medical officer of health was asked about the daycare during the regular news briefing on Monday, but Dr. Jennifer Russell only spoke in general terms about what happens when a positive test is discovered. 

She said all contacts are tracked down and notified. 

Hundreds of daycare spots needed

"And then, if there had been a public exposure, I would be announcing that, and it would be on our website," said Russell. "So that is the procedure for each and every case as it unfolds, and my regional teams look after those processes very, very, very well."

The province, meanwhile, is still looking for child-care spaces for essential workers. 

As of April 3, said Elliott, the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development has received a total of 2,927 requests for child care. 

Of those, nearly 2,500 were placed in emergency child care or their parents found alternative arrangements, said Elliott. 

She said 431 children are still waiting for placement.

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