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Nearly 1,000 coronavirus cases in California linked to daycare centers

Nearly 1,000 people have tested positive for the novel coronavirus at California day care facilities since mid-March, according to data obtained by a Bay Area NBC affiliate.

There were 998 positive tests that occurred between May 11 and July 12, and positive cases in day care facilities are up 12 percent since last week, according to the state Department of Social Services. The cases included staff, children and parents in more than 38,000 facilities.

Los Angeles, which kept the most facilities open of any part of the state during the pandemic, also leads in cases originating in child care facilities, with 170, while Santa Clara County in the Bay Area had 28 cases.

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Child care services interviewed by the outlet said they maintained a “cohort system” during the pandemic, in which children stay in groups of 10 to 12, with parents restricted from entering the facility and required temperature checks and questionnaires upon entry.

However, even facilities implementing these precautions have not been immune.

“We were notified by the health department, by public health, that two children in our toddler program who are related tested positive for COVID through contact tracing,” Susan Gilmore, CEO of North Bay Children’s Center, told NBC Bay Area. “[T]hese are kids that never would have been tested. They were asymptomatic, went through the check-in every morning, taking their temperature.”

The data comes in the middle of a spike in California’s coronavirus cases, as well as a push by the White House for children to return to in-person classes in the fall, citing the low risk to children from the virus.

Los Angeles and San Diego have already announced the year will begin with entirely virtual instruction, while Orange County’s school board voted this week to resume in-person K-12 schooling in the fall.