Midstate infectious disease expert on keeping kids safe from COVID, and daycare advice

Coronavirus in Pennsylvania

CAMP HILL, Pa. (WHTM) — What should you do to keep your kids, especially newborns and toddlers protected from COVID? They can’t get vaccinated and parents are the first line of defense, but they’re not the only defense.

The Director at Tender Years Inc., a daycare in Camp Hill says it’s taking COVID very seriously and has several measures in place to make sure kids stay safe. Infectious disease experts say that’s critical.

“Parents if they’re looking at finding the right daycare, asking about what percentage of the staff are vaccinated, what are the policies from a masking standpoint, what are the policies from alerting families to positive cases,” Dr. Patrick Gavigan, infectious diseases physician, Penn State Health Children’s Hospital said.

“Having all the kids that are two years and up wearing masks,” Jordyn Heisey, Director, Tender Years Inc. said.

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That is what the CDC advises. The staff at Tender Years Inc. takes kids’ temperatures in the morning, makes sure all the kids are washing their hands often, and has a plan in place to alert parents if a child gets sick with COVID.

“We have an electric static sprayer that sprays a Clorox solution throughout our classrooms, so we’re using that day in and day out just to cut back on the germs,” Heisey said.

They are not mandating vaccinations for staff, but are highly encouraging it.

“The best thing that parents can do and really anyone in the family can do is if you’re eligible and old enough, get vaccinated,” Dr. Gavigan said.

That includes pregnant women, according to the CDC.

“Specifically you know they get Tdap with the hope that you pass on some of those antibodies and I would hope that the same thing would happen and maybe there’s some protection that the infant gets. We don’t know that for sure, but we certainly know that mom will be protected,” Dr. Gavigan said.

That may be more important now than ever.

“There’s certainly been some concerns that this new again delta variant may be more severe in children, so we may be seeing higher rates of severe illness in kids right now as compared to earlier in the pandemic,” Dr. Gavigan said.

Dr. Gavigan said in general, kids are less likely to have a severe reaction to COVID than adults, but he says there’s concern that the delta variant may be more severe in children. There’s just not enough data right now to know for sure.

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