ROY — A day care facility has no greater risk of exposure to COVID-19 if it’s in the same building as a facility where COVID-19 is present, according to state officials.
After the Standard-Examiner ran a story about the COVID-19 outbreak at Heritage Park Healthcare and Rehabilitative Services, a skilled nursing facility in Roy, readers reached out to the Standard-Examiner with concerns and questions about Busy Bee’s Playhouse, a day care operated in the same building.
According to the day care’s website, the day care serves children from 6 weeks of age through the sixth grade. About a third of the children who attend Busy Bee’s are children of Heritage Park staff, according to Jeff Fletcher, spokesperson for the day care and administrator at Heritage Park. Close to 100% of the children at the center have parents who are essential workers, Fletcher said in an email.
An aerial photo on the day care’s website shows the children’s play area in an open air atrium on the Heritage Park facility’s southwestern tip, as does an aerial photo of the facility on Google Maps.
Busy Bee’s has been operating without interruption since the COVID-19 pandemic began, Fletcher said.
Although there is an inside door that connects the day care center to the skilled nursing facility, that door is locked — and has been since Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services issued its visitation restriction guidance to nursing facilities back on March 13, according to Fletcher’s email.
“The door will remain locked until such time as it is appropriate to re-allow access from an infection prevention and control standpoint,” he said.
As long as that door stays locked, there’s no additional risk to Busy Bee’s than there would be for any other child care facility, said Simon Bolivar, child care licensing administrator with the Utah Department of Health.
“We have concerns about any (child care) facility, regardless of where they are located,” Bolivar said. “The fact that (Busy Bee’s is) located close to this (long-term care) facility does not increase or decrease the concern because the facilities are separated by full walls, solid walls, and the precautions we have set for the providers are the same whether or not they are located ... close to a facility like this.”
The requirement is that there are not indoor entrances that connect the two spaces, Bolivar said. Because the inside door is currently locked, Busy Bee’s currently meets this requirement, he said.
For any child care facility, people showing symptoms of COVID-19 are not allowed in the building, and symptomatic staff and children are sent home, Bolivar said. Those who are dropping children off are also not allowed inside, he said.
“Whether or not you have a parent that works at a hospital or long-term facility, any child — regardless of who the parents are — needs to go through the screening process, and if they have any symptoms, they will not be allowed in the (child care) facility,” Bolivar said.
Busy Bee’s is in compliance with all requirements for child care facilities that were laid out in a letter sent to child care facilities by Bolivar on April 29, Fletcher said.
Fletcher reports that Heritage Park has received guidance and support from the State of Utah and its departments, including the Utah Department of Health.
This support includes the state health department’s Healthcare-Associated Infections team, which helps respond to COVID-19 outbreaks in long-term care facilities, according to a statement shared by the Weber-Morgan Health Department in mid-May.
Guidance from the HAI team has been directed toward Heritage Park, and the team has not provided the facility with any guidance specific to Busy Bee’s, according to Charla Haley, spokesperson for the state health department.
The Weber-Morgan Health Department has not provided any special assistance to the day care, according to Lori Buttars, spokesperson for the department. This would not normally be the local department’s role, although local departments are often called in as first responders to crisis situations, she said.
The health department’s most recent interaction with the day care was a routine inspection of the facility’s kitchen, which is shared by Busy Bee’s and Heritage Park, Buttars said. The inspection was not connected to the COVID-19 pandemic, she said.