Toronto emergency child care centre reopens after declaring coronavirus outbreak

May 14 2020, 9:47 am

A Toronto emergency child care centre is reopening after it declared a COVID-19 outbreak two weeks ago.

Jesse Ketchum Early Learning and Child Care Centre, one of the licensed child care centres that provides care for the children of essential and critical service workers, resumed on Thursday.

According to the City, Toronto Children’s Services is taking a “phased approach” to reopening the centre.

On March 14, three rooms opened, which can accommodate up to 21 children in total.

In the coming weeks, an additional two rooms will be open, bringing the capacity of the centre to 30 children. Child care will only be available five days a week, from 6 am to 8:30 pm.

And, staff will be required to wear surgical masks when a two metre distance cannot be maintained.

“Daily screening of children and staff, increased disinfection, reduced group sizes, and limiting the number of people in the centre will continue as Children’s Services works with Toronto Public Health on ongoing reviews of all of emergency child centre practices,” the statement said.

Prior to resuming service, the division worked with Toronto Public Health to ensure that all health and safety policies and procedures would be followed, including incorporating updated guidelines from the Ministry of Health.

All staff returning the facility were required to provide a clearance letter from Toronto Public Health and were retrained to ensure full compliance with all health and safety policies and procedures.

An outbreak at the child care centre was first declared on April 29.

As of May 7, seven children and 13 staff had contracted the virus, which was updated by Toronto officials during the daily press conference — one of the children was an eight-month-old.

At the time the City said the 45 staff and 52 children must self-isolate for 14 days from the day they most recently attended the child care centre between April 21 and 28, 2020.

“These individuals who were told to self-isolate include those diagnosed with COVID-19, and those people who were identified as their close contacts,” the City said.

While service was suspended at the centre for the last two weeks, Children’s Services conducted a “deep clean” of all rooms and entryway and performed infection control audits at the remaining six emergency child care centres.

To date, there are 7,944 total coronavirus cases in Toronto, with 5,655 recovered and 634 reported deaths.