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Dane County child care center COVID-19 outbreak includes variant strain

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Coronavirus COVID-19 generic

MADISON (WKOW) -- A COIVD-19 outbreak at a Dane County childcare facility resulted in 35 confirmed cases, with many close contacts to be tested in the near future.

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According to a news release from Public Health Madison and Dane County, 21 children and child care workers have tested positive, along with 14 family members. PHMDC did not identify the center where the outbreak took place.

Tests identified the B.1.1.7 strain that was first detected in the UK as part of the outbreak, but the release said most of the children diagnosed presented only mild symptoms.

"We have let the center know that part of the outbreak at least included the B.1.1.7 variant which is likely the reason we saw spread happen so quickly," PHMDC Director Janel Heinrich said.

As all Wisconsinites 16 and older are now eligible for vaccines, PHMDC encourages everyone to get vaccinated as soon as possible.

"Get tested if you are showing any symptoms, get your children tested if they are showing symptoms, and get vaccinated as soon as you can. The vaccines are highly effective against severe disease and death from COVID-19 infection, even with the most prevalent variants,” Heinrich said.

Heinrich says adult vaccinations also protect children.

"Really encourage people to get vaccinated , providing that cocoon effect around the child," she says.

Heinrich notes the symptoms of COVID-19 or its variants can mimic other conditions.

"Some of the symptoms that pop up in our young ages are quite similar to those that you might think are related to allergies," Heinrich says. "But we don't want people to make any assumptions while we know that testing and and isolation and quarantine could really help minimize that risk."

Data shows Wisconsin with 139 cases of the B.1.1.7 variant, with Minnesota's case count nearly four times as high, and Michigan's total eight times higher than in Wisconsin.

Peter Culver

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