Study: Kids who contracted COVID-19 at Salt Lake County day cares infected family members

Image: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention/Gephardt Daily

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah, Sept. 11, 2020 (Gephardt Daily) — A new study┬áreleased Friday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention documented outbreaks of COVID-19 at three separate child day care facilities in Salt Lake County, including instances where children spread the disease to family members.

According to the CDC, contact tracing data collected between April and July allowed researchers to reconstruct “transmission chains” and provide a map of how the virus spread.

“Analysis of contact tracing data in Salt Lake County, Utah, identified outbreaks of COVID-19 in three small to large child care facilities linked to index cases in adults and associated with transmission from children to household and non-household contacts,” the study said.

A dozen children tested positive for COVID-19 in the CDC study. Nine developed mild symptoms, while three others showed no sign of the illness.

Contact tracing determined the 12 infected children were ultimately in contact with 46 people outside the childcare centers. Twelve of those 46 tested positive for the coronavirus, including six mothers, one father, and three siblings, along with two others.

One of the mothers who tested positive ended up being hospitalized.

The CDC study also determined “a child aged 8 months transmitted SARS-CoV-2 to both parents,” leading researchers to conclude that while COVID-19 is less severe in children than it is in adults, children can still play a role in transmission, including those who are asymptomatic.

“The infected children exposed at these three facilities had mild to no symptoms,” the study said. “Two of three asymptomatic children likely transmitted SARS-CoV-2 to their parents and possibly to their teachers.”

Researchers determined CDC guidelines for reducing the spread of infection would apply to day care centers, including increased testing and contact tracing.

“Having SARS-CoV-2 testing available, timely results, and testing of contacts of patients in child care settings regardless of symptoms can help prevent transmission and provide a better understanding of the role played by children in transmission,” the study said.

The CDC guidelines also recommend use of face masks, “particularly among staff members, especially when children are too young to wear masks, along with hand hygiene, frequent cleaning and disinfecting of high-touch surfaces, and staying home when ill to reduce SARS-CoV-2 transmission.”

Researches cited three “limitations” to their study.

First, contact tracing methods changed during the course of the pandemic and could have impact data collected over time.

Second, testing criteria was initially limited to people with typical COVID-19 symptoms such as fever or cough, and could have led researchers to underestimate the true number of cases and the scope of transmissions.

Third, because the source for the outbreak at one of the day care facilities was unknown, it is possible that cases associated with the facility resulted from transmission outside the day care.

The CDC credited Utah State Epidemiologist Dr. Angela Dunn and members of the Salt Lake County Health Department and Utah Department of Health for contributing to the study.

To read the entire study posted on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website click here.

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