Winter and the holidays are upon us. With the cold weather, we are staying inside more. The holidays mean more gatherings and close contact in crowded stores and holiday-related events and activities. We are seeing a rapid uptick in respiratory viruses, including COVID, RSV, and influenza. Here are links to the latest CDC guidance regarding COVID exposure and infection:
If a positive case is identified in your center, all who were present should wear a mask for the next 10 days and get tested on Day 6 if test-to-stay is not currently practiced (unless they develop symptoms, then they should test sooner).
On the page “If You Were Exposed” (What to Do If You Were Exposed to COVID-19 | CDC), the following is stated:
If you were exposed to the virus that causes COVID-19 or have been told by a healthcare provider or public health authority that you were exposed, here are the steps that you should take, regardless of your vaccination status or if you have had a previous infection.
Exclusion criteria for influenza (“flu”) and RSV include fever and severe respiratory symptoms that prevent the child from full participation. Usual health routines should be maintained – good handwashing, covering coughs/sneezes, surface cleaning, and observing children for signs/symptoms of illness. Children may return once fever-free without fever-reducing medication for at least 24 hours and able to fully participate in activities, or upon the advice of a healthcare provider. The CDC provides resources to guide decision-making around respiratory illness prevention, diagnosis, and treatment.
As a reminder, the Maine Department of Education recently posted this Communicable Diseases Quick Guide for Schools and Child-Care Centers in Maine: https://www.maine.gov/doe/sites/maine.gov.doe/files/inline-files/Communicable%20Diseases%20Quick%20Guide%2011x17%20V1_0.pdf. This is a handy guide to help you with decision-making around inclusion/exclusion criteria. If you have not yet received your copy of the "purple book" Managing Infectious Diseases in Child Care and Schools, please check with your licensing specialist, as copies were purchased for every licensed child care provider in Maine.
Wishing you all a happy, healthy holiday season!