Latest coronavirus case confirmed in Evanston child attending local preschool

Evanston Child Development Center closed Monday for deep cleaning after a child who attended the center tested positive for COVID-19 on Saturday. ECDC Director Kendra West said the child was asymptomatic the last time he or she was in the building, which was more than a week ago, but at some point during that time developed symptoms caused by the novel coronavirus. The center plans to reopen Tuesday, May 19. (HERALD PHOTO/Kayne Pyatt)

EVANSTON — Uinta County Public Health announced the county’s eighth confirmed case of COVID-19 on Saturday, May 16, just one day after announcing that all of the other county’s previously confirmed and probable cases were officially recovered. The latest case is reportedly in a child with no known source of infection, which would indicate community spread.

With word spreading throughout Evanston that the child in question had been attending Evanston Child Development Center (ECDC), Director Kendra West said she wants to be as transparent as possible while also ensuring privacy and confidentiality are maintained.

West said staff at ECDC have worked very hard to ensure all CDC-recommended protocols are followed while continuing to remain open to provide childcare for the community’s essential workers. Those protocols include screening of all staff members and children every day, consisting of temperature and symptom checks and questioning regarding possible exposures. She said it has long been center policy that children are not able to attend with a fever and currently children haven’t been allowed with any temperature greater than 99 degrees.

West said those dropping off or picking up children have not been able to venture further into the building than the entryway, where children have been greeted and escorted to class by staff members in personal protective gear. In addition, West said the entire facility has been cleaned and sanitized multiple times a day since the pandemic began, a practice West said the center follows at all times and is not only related to the novel coronavirus.

As to the particular child with confirmed infection, West said she could not provide any information that might identify that child, who is reportedly isolated and recovering at home.

“My goal is always to protect families, children and staff, and also to protect this particular child,” she said.

West said the center closed on Monday, May 18, to continue an assessment of practices and procedures that began when the case was confirmed, as well as an intensive deep cleaning of the entire center.

She said all close contacts, both staff and children, of the child had been contacted directly and staff and students will be tested. West said the ill child had not been in attendance at ECDC for at least a week and had been completely asymptomatic when last at the center.

“We have no idea where the child got it but became symptomatic while at home,” West said.

As a nonprofit nationally-accredited childcare center, West said ECDC has lost income every day throughout the current crisis, as they have remained open for children of essential workers. “We’ve had to decrease numbers to ensure all the distancing and closure requirements are met, while having the same number of staff,” she said. “We continue to serve significant numbers of families and we have an amazing staff that is working their butts off to keep kids safe.”

West also sang the praises of Uinta County Public Health staff, who have been working diligently with ECDC and other county organizations to navigate the crisis in general and this latest development.

“We’ve been working so closely with public health,” she said. “We’re so fortunate to have them and particularly (Uinta County Public Health Nurse Manager) Kim Proffit. She’s phenomenal.”

West said following the weekend and Monday’s closure, deep cleaning and protocol assessment, ECDC will reopen on Tuesday, May 19.

“This is unfortunate but we’re being very careful and very considerate,” she said. “We’re doing everything we can, and I feel very confident we’ll be just fine.”

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