A Laramie childcare operation remains open after two close calls with COVID-19 in as many weeks.
Basic Beginnings, with north and south facilities in Laramie, had separate incidents, one with an employee and another with a child, both at its south facility.
Director Jan Lawrence said the most recent had to do with a child receiving care at Basic Beginnings South. Lawrence received a call July 7 informing her the child had tested positive for COVID-19 after coming into contact with somebody outside of the center, she said. All the families whose children had been in contact with the child who tested positive were contacted and put under quarantine for 14 days.
Because of operational changes made to Basic Beginnings’ programming in March, the positive case only affected a small number of children who had been in contact with the one child.
“There’s no indication it had spread around Basic Beginnings,” Lawrence told the Boomerang Saturday.
The first incident involved a staff member who contacted Lawrence on June 30 to inform her that the staff member’s significant other had been in contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19. There was no requirement that the employee not return to work, but Lawrence said an abundance of caution led to the decision that it would be best for her to do so.
After voluntarily going home, the staff member learned her significant other tested positive for COVID-19. The staff member subsequently tested positive, as well. The timeline, Lawrence said, made it so the rest of the center was never at risk of exposure.
“Because she hadn’t been in the center, we determined not a single person was in danger,” Lawrence said. “Our staff member was incredible.”
Ultimately one classroom was shut down and sanitized, Lawrence said.
Credit for avoiding the potential crisis lies with the Wyoming Department of Health and Albany County officials who helped, as well as everyone involved at the center who came forward with information about positive tests. Lawrence gave her employee praise in particular.
“She was under no obligation to tell us that, but she made a very mature, responsible decision,” Lawrence said. “I’m really proud of her.”
Preventing spread at businesses comes down to the simple advice being advocated by those like Gov. Mark Gordon, Aimee Binning, Albany County Emergency Management Coordinator, said.
“Wearing masks and social distancing are keys to limiting social spread,” Binning said.
Binning said Laramie businesses are being “very diligent in crafting continuity of operations plans and having ways to identify employees” so that self isolation and quarantine can be effectively employed, allowing businesses to stay open.
“Our intent is not to shut businesses down,” Binning said. “It’s to help with coordination.”
Wyoming health officials confirmed the highest single-day positive case count Saturday with 43 new cases. Albany County recorded four new cases on Saturday, bringing its total to 44. That’s an increase of six new local cases confirmed in a week.
It brings Wyoming’s total number of cases to 1,488 on Saturday with a death toll of 21 as several states around the nation are seeing cases spike.
Gordon on Wednesday emphasized wearing facemasks as an important way to stop the spread. Albany County officials this week were having discussions behind the scenes about how to approach seeking a variance from the state health officer to implement a facemask requirement in public indoor spaces.