Calgary family frustrated by province's health guidelines for daycares after son tests negative for COVID-19
CALGARY -- A Calgary family says their four-year-old son has been told to quarantine by his daycare, on advice from Alberta Health after he developed a runny nose.
Jeff Fortier and girlfriend Olivia Long say their son Ethan began to have a runny nose last Wednesday.
Fortier and Long say their son’s daycare, BrightPath Creekside in the city’s northwest, said he could not return until symptoms resolved.
His parents say Ethan always has a minor runny nose.
Ethan took a COVID-19 test last Friday, with results coming back negative on Sunday.
“We got to start pointing fingers, because this is going to affect a lot of families,” said Fortier.
“They are qualifying a runny nose as a symptom of COVID-19 here in Alberta.”
A daily checklist, from Alberta Health cites 14 symptoms that parents must answer ‘No’ to, allowing their child to attend daycare, or school.
* Shortness of breath
* Runny nose
* Sore throat
* Muscle aches
* Lost sense of smell/taste
* No appetite
* Painful swallowing
Following B.C. guidelines
Fortier believes Alberta should move to a similar model that B.C. has for children attending schools or daycares, removing some of the symptoms from a daily checklist parents must fill out.
“Even after having the test results back as negative, they’re not allowed to go back into the daycare until they are symptom free,” he said.
Alberta’s chief medical officer of health Dr. Deena Hinshaw said last week, that Alberta will not follow B.C.’s model, and remove symptoms from its list.
Fortier and Long say they are now having to take time off work for up to two weeks or use the minimal vacation time they have left.
Long says with the weather changing, it's inevitable more people will get sick, and not just from COVID—19.
“Flu season is coming, we’re probably all going to get the flu here soon, then he’s going to have another cold, and there’s a lot of days that I’m going to be missing at work,” she said.
Alberta Health says if a child tests positive, they must quarantine for at least 10 days or when symptoms resolve, whichever is longer.
If a person tests negative, they must continue isolating until symptoms resolve.
Ethan’s parents say he spent the summer at home with them, since the pandemic began.
They sent him back to daycare earlier this month, and two weeks later, say that’s when his nose became runny.
“Something’s telling me that this is where it came from, and based on their regulation everyone should get tested in that daycare,” said Fortier.
Fortier suspects parents will eventually start sending their kids back to daycare, even if they are showing minor to mild symptoms.
“I can already tell this is going to be a struggle going through the winter,” said Fortier.
Hinshaw at her media briefing on Sept 17th said she felt sympathy for families that have to take time off work to care for their kids, and suggested federal supports are needed to help keep those families paying the bills.
“Unless we are able to support individuals who need to stay home, either they themselves are ill or a child is ill, unless we can do that successfully, we will not be able to prevent COVID-19 from spreading,” she said.
Hinshaw says she is speaking with other colleagues across the country.