The perilous grip of the E. coli outbreak in Calgary has tightened, as an increased number of children have yielded positive test results across six more daycare facilities, confirmed Alberta’s Chief Medical Officer of Health. An urgent mandate to temporality halt operations has, thereby, been executed in these sites.
Seemingly serene institutions like Active Start Country Hills, CanCare Childcare at Scenic Acres, CEFA Early Learning Childcare South, MTC Daycare, Renert Junior Kindergarten, and Calgary JCC Child Care, adopted this grim hiatus. Akin to this, Vik Academy, which had previously recommenced post a brief shutdown, now finds itself again under closure, as precautionary measured unfold in the wake of impending test results.
In an unwavering commitment to ensure safety, each facility is obligated to undertake rigorous cleaning and sanitation protocols prior to reopening. Additionally, children can only return post a confirmed negative status for E. coli, fortifying a stringent barrier against further spread. The Chief Medical Officer has ensured that facility operators have been alerted and assures quick and direct communication to parents from daycare operators, in collaboration with Alberta Health Services.
Confirming the disturbing reverberations of the original outbreak, it is stated that some children who manifested a positive result were linked with the initially impacted daycare centres. Understanding the heart-wrenching distress faced by parents in these trying times, the Chief Medical Officer of Health urged them to abide by the guidance of healthcare professionals.
Circulating a stern reminder of the great responsibility parents hold in these unique circumstances, the statement intoned, “If your daycare is closed, respect the reasons behind this decision and prioritize your child’s well-being by keeping them at home. Seek an alternative only if they have returned a negative E. coli test and exhibit no symptoms.”
The broadened scope of vigilance also probes daycare operators in the Calgary region to meticulously verify the health and daycare history of their newest charges. A collective action and adherence to health guidelines were emphasized as key to curb the outbreak.
To convey the magnitude of this crisis, as of September 4th, 342 cases of bacterial infection have been confirmed by laboratory tests. A heart-wrenching report revealed twelve children remain hospitalized till Friday; ten suffering from Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome (HUS), which is wreaking havoc on blood and kidneys, requiring six of them to undergo dialysis.
Testament to personal suffering caused by the outbreak, two families narrate their traumatic experiences. Belonging to Crossfield, Teagan Rogers recounts how her son Rhett was struck by E. coli last year. Coupled with the relentless pain it caused, the affliction compromised every organ in his body leading to his hospitalization for several weeks. Even after surviving, the two-year-old still battles chronic kidney disease and various developmental delays. Much is the same for Airdrie’s Christina McAleer, whose daughter Charlie now faces lifelong medical surveillance after being caught in the same outbreak.
This shared trauma has ignited a noble initiative, with the mothers forming YYC HUS Parent Support Group on Facebook to reach out to those currently facing the nightmare of E. coli. Highlighting the significance of early warning signs, they press the importance of recognizing obvious as well as obscure symptoms such as stomach pain, sluggishness, and loss of appetite.
“We need to strive for improvements in policy-making and communication, to ensure better protection for our children,” pleads Rogers, “Situations like this, particularly in daycare settings, simply should not be allowed to happen.”