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Williston childcare worker transmits coronavirus to kids

A childcare worker transmitted the COVID-19 coronavirus to a small number of children at a childcare center in Williston earlier this month, Vermont Health Commissioner Mark Levine said Tuesday. But he noted that the transmission is isolated, saying the center has not registered a positive test among staff or children in more than a week. 

Levine spoke about the situation in response to a question from Vermont Business Magazine roughly 90 minutes into one of Gov. Phil Scott’s twice-weekly press conferences about the state’s pandemic response. 

Levine declined to identify the center, the number of children infected or the ages of the children, citing privacy concerns. 

“The number is not large,” he said of the amount of infections. 

“I can tell you, they are all very young,” he added, referring to the age of the children infected. “It was an adult who was the ill person initially, and then some children subsequently tested positive.”

Levine said the situation highlights that, in childcare, school or camp settings, if there is coronavirus transmission it is typically adult to child, rather than child to adult. 

Levine emphasized that this type of situation has been rare in the child care industry statewide, even as the industry has remained open, at least partially, since the start of the pandemic, first to serve essential workers, and more recently at fuller capacity. 

“This is not another occurrence of many. This is a unique occurrence, really, considering how many childcares there are in the state,” he said. “Many parents, children and childcare providers have concerns, just because we are in the COVID era, but things have worked out very well.

“But this does illustrate that there will be a case here, there will be a case there,” he continued, “much like we’re talking about schools and colleges, there will be cases in those settings, as well. But as long as they can be isolated cases, scattered cases, don’t occur with great frequency, (they) can be contained very effectively through the public health measures we’ve utilized, that’s what’s important for everyone to understand.”

— Jason Starr