It may be relatively safe to reopen child care centers in states where COVID-19 is contained and precautions are taken, according to a new report released Friday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The report identified 52 cases of COVID-19 over a two-month period in 29 out of 666 child care programs in Rhode Island that were allowed to open. The programs had a capacity for nearly 19,000 children, but it’s not clear how many were enrolled between June 1 and July 31, when the analysis took place.
Most of the cases identified didn’t result in secondary infection, likely due to the maximum class sizes of 20 children set by the state and the use of face masks by adults, the authors of the report wrote. Of the 29 programs where cases were identified, 20 had only one case, according to the report.
But the report notes that children who have COVID-19 typically experience no symptoms or mild symptoms, so infections were likely undetected.
“This is, like other instances that we've highlighted, an example of and a testimony to the important role that everyone can play in slowing the spread of COVID-19 and their communities — wearing masks consistently and correctly, staying six feet away from each other, staying home when sick and washing your hands frequently,” CDC Director Robert Redfield told reporters on a call Friday.
The authors also noted that while spread was minimal, it still had a “substantial” impact on child care programs because 853 children and staff members were required to quarantine, which typically lasts two weeks.
Of the 52 cases, 30 were children. Most of the cases occurred in mid-to-late July, when cases were increasing statewide, the authors said.