Staff and parents await test results after two cases of Covid-19 at Meath crèche

The CEO of the crèche described the results as "devastating", especially after spending €10,000 on PPE. 
Staff and parents await test results after two cases of Covid-19 at Meath crèche
Marie Daly at the Outside School in Beechmount, Navan. Pic: Seamus Farrelly

Staff and parents at a Meath crèche are anxiously awaiting test results, after two staff members tested positive for Covid-19 in recent days.

The results at An Daoine Óga Community Childcare Centre in Navan have been described by its CEO Marie Daly as "extremely devastating", especially after an investment of €10,000 in protective personal equipment (PPE) and other Covid-19 measures at the facility.

One of the eight rooms at the popular centre was immediately closed after a staff member complained of a sore throat, and subsequently tested positive for the illness last Wednesday. 

Children at the facility have been split into pods of up to eight, with two staff members in each as part of Covid-19 response measures.  The second staff member in the same pod of eight children aged between one and two-years-old has tested negative.

However, due to a 'floating' staff member between two units, decisive action by management closed a second room containing seven children aged between two and three years old.

That member tested negative, but her co-worker in the pod tested positive.

Neither of the two staff who tested positive were in contact with each other, inside or outside of work.

Since then, testing on all seven staff and most of the children have returned negative results, but the facility is awaiting the results of the remaining children. 

"All our staff's temperatures are taken three times every day and none of the two staff who tested positive had a temperature," said Ms Daly.

"The first employee complained of a sore throat, and the second had a runny nose, aches and pains.

Marie Daly, CEO of the community childcare facility in Meath, says she is 'devastated' after two cases of Covid-19 were confirmed at the facility earlier this week
Marie Daly, CEO of the community childcare facility in Meath, says she is 'devastated' after two cases of Covid-19 were confirmed at the facility earlier this week

"Since reopening in June, all rooms were divided into pods of up to eight children with two members of staff per pod. There is also an additional employee who works between two rooms. 

"Because of this, I took the decision to also close that room immediately. This employee proved negative but another staff member in this pod of seven children was a confirmed case."

Both cases showed mild symptoms, and did not need any hospital treatment, Ms Daly said. Six rooms at the facility remain open. 

"Everyone is worried, but the parents and pre-school inspectors have been extremely supportive to us," she said.

"It's extremely devastating, disappointing and frustrating but despite all our efforts, unfortunately we can't control outside circumstances.

"During lockdown, our senior staff completed a level 5 course in infectious control, and the other employees were all given a briefing.

"We spent €10,000 on PPE gear and adaptations to the building. Our Covid-19 document record was second-to-none, so much so that it was rolled out to a lot of other services around Ireland. 

"So far every other test is coming back negative, and no one else has reported any symptoms, so we can only wait anxiously and hope that we have managed to contain the virus here."

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