COVID-19 found in two metro-area child care centers

No deaths reported at locations in Westminster, Centennial

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Two Colorado child care facilities, both in suburban metro Denver, have recorded COVID-19 outbreaks, according to state data.

The two facilities are the first child care locations that the state has listed as confirmed outbreaks.

Orchard Valley Learning Center in east Centennial and The Learning Experience in Westminster each have seen two staff members test positive for the disease, according to May 13 data from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. Orchard Valley also has one “attendee” who has tested positive, the data say.

"Attendees" in this case means a child, according to the health department.

“We work with the health department and follow all the protocol,” said Jamie, Orchard Valley’s director, who did not provide her last name. She added: “Everything’s under control.”

The facility is a unit of Denver-based Bradford Early Education, whose website also lists locations in Highlands Ranch, Greenwood Village and unincorporated Arapahoe County between Denver and Aurora.

The state’s suggested precautions for child care facilities during the coronavirus pandemic include that no more than 10 children should be in one group, that groups of children should be kept together with the same staff when possible, and that facilities should conduct daily temperature checks and monitor symptoms in employees, students and any person entering the building. More precautions are listed at tinyurl.com/childcareCOVIDguidance.

The Learning Experience in Westminster recorded a voicemail message that said the facility has temporarily closed and will re-open May 26. The Learning Experience is a Florida-based chain whose website lists nine sites in metro Denver.

Another Orchard Valley staff member declined to say whether the facility is staying open or is temporarily closing.

Neither facility had any deaths or any probable COVID-19 cases, according to the data.

Orchard Valley provides early childhood programs that serve infants and toddlers, along with preschool and kindergarten, according to its website. The Learning Experience Westminster serves ages six weeks to 8 years, its website says.

Statewide, Colorado has seen just over 200 outbreaks as of May 14, according to its COVID-19 website. That includes jails and other correctional facilities, grocery stores and food manufacturers. The majority of outbreaks have occurred at nursing homes, senior living locations and other care facilities.

In recent weeks, the state has conducted COVID-19 testing at care facilities. That included testing of nearly 1,900 asymptomatic staff and residents at six nursing facilities and a veterans’ home, according to a May 6 news release. The efforts are part of the state’s goal of testing in settings without an outbreak to prevent asymptomatic spread.

The state was working to contract with Colorado State University to expand testing to thousands of staff per week for eight weeks, the release said.

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