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Children Being Tested In A Childcare Centre After Fears Of Exposure To Coronavirus

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In Sydney’s northern suburbs, children and families from a childcare centre are undergoing testing for the coronavirus over fears they were exposed during a visit to a nearby aged care facility.

Health authorities are assessing a group of children from the childcare centre, after they visited an aged care facility, on February 24th, where two people have contracted the coronavirus. The aged care facility is within metres of the childcare centre where a nurse was confirmed to have contracted the virus.

A 95-year-old woman who was a resident at BaptistCare died from coronavirus this week, after catching it from the nurse. Two male residents, aged 82 and 70, are also infected.

The childcare centre is a 90-place centre managed by Campus Life Children’s Services at Macquarie University. The childcare centre is within the university campus.

A spokesperson for Macquarie University told news.com.au in a statement "A small number of cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed by NSW Health at the Aged Care Facility. NSW Health has advised there is currently no need for either Banksia or Gumnut childcare centres to close and they will continue to operate as normal. At this stage, no children from either childcare centre have presented with symptoms of COVID-19. The centres remain in close contact with parents and NSW Health regarding any recommended next steps.”

NSW chief health officer Dr Kerry Chant said "We have good records, we were alerted to the fact that there had been an outbreak of illness at the childcare centre and that was brought to our attention in a variety of ways, but also one of the staff members and the partner of the staff member had developed a respiratory illness. We arranged testing of that specimen and the testing was conducted overnight, and that test has come back negative."

Dr Chant said the children and families from the centre are now being assessed to “both allay community anxiety but also to absolutely rule out any link between the two events”.

Health Minister Brad Hazard addressed the possibility of cross-contamination between the aged care centre and the childcare centre.

“I understand that there was a group of children from a nearby centre who attended, I think, about the last week of February, and there were some suggestions publicly that in some way those children might have either brought in the virus or perhaps got the virus. But there is no indication at the moment that has necessarily been the case.” Mr Hazzard said.

NSW Health is working with both the aged care facility and the childcare centre to assess the ongoing situation and has added precautionary measures.

Reference:
"Children Tested For Coronavirus After Exposure Concerns At Childcare Centre", News.com.au, 5 March 2020

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