Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Gov. Ducey Announces State Child Care for Frontline Workers

Posted By on Tue, Mar 24, 2020 at 11:20 AM

click to enlarge Gov. Ducey Announces State Child Care for Frontline Workers
Danyelle Khmara/TLM file photo
The state is rolling out a childcare program for parents on the front lines of fighting the coronavirus pandemic.
Governor Doug Ducey and Superintendent Kathy Hoffman announced a new state-funded childcare program for front line workers across Arizona starting next week.

The state's Arizona Enrichment Centers will be open for first responders, critical health care workers, essential public sector workers and other staff essential to combating the spread of COVID-19. The centers will be following CDC Guidance for Schools and Childcare Programs, in addition to ADHS Childcare Facility Guidance and further guidelines set by local health departments.

The details on exactly who qualifies and how to register for the program are unavailable at the moment, but more information "will be forthcoming over the next few days," according to the release. However they do suggest contacting via email, AZEnrichmentCenters@az.gov, you have "pressing questions" in the meantime.

Additional information about Arizona Enrichment Centers:

• Children and staff/volunteers will have their temperatures taken upon entering the enrichment center - anyone with a fever will not be admitted.

• Volunteers/staff at the enrichment centers will wipe down surfaces frequently with disinfectant.

• Each room will not exceed a safe maximum of students, supported by at least one adult; this will both allow for personalized attention and will meet social distancing needs.

• Children will be offered a site based on their home address and their parent or caregiver’s eligibility.

• Districts are working to select schools in close proximity to hospitals to add convenience for health care workers.

• Centers will be open Monday through Friday. Hours may vary by location.

• The environment will be safe and supportive, and staff will be prepared to respond to children’s social and emotional needs. All staff will complete background checks.

• Children will be allowed to bring remote devices so they can work on schoolwork while at the centers.

Both The YMCA of Southern Arizona and the Boys and Girls Club of Tucson are prioritizing childcare for the children of first responders, health care workers and employees at grocery stores. The BGCT is “strictly providing emergency childcare to 60 children, ages 5-12, of essential and critical service community workers” at their Grant Road location, according to a press release.

For more information on child care with BGCT, click here

The YMCA of Southern Arizona is also giving essential workers special preference for child care. Child care spots at the YMCA aren’t just for medical workers, but grocery store workers too, said Candis Martin for YMCA Southern Arizona.

“The program is for anybody who is providing a critical role right now,” Martin said. “Whether that begins with doctors and nurses, it could also be the courtesy store clerk at Fry’s down the street.”

Martin said she was unsure about how many kids are enrolled in the essential workers program, but she is expecting anywhere from 250 to 2,000 children by the end of this week.

For more information on child care with the YMCA, click here

As of today’s official count from the Arizona Department of Health Services, 326 cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed in Arizona. There are 42 confirmed cases in Pima County.

One person in Pima County, a woman in her 50s with underlying health conditions, has died from the illnesses, which has killed a total five people statewide.

In Maricopa County, the number on confirmed COVID-19 cases has risen to 199.

The rise in cases corresponds with increased testing for COVID-19 but health officials warn that far more people have likely been exposed to the virus. Symptoms can take up to 14 days to appear, so people can pass the virus without realizing they have been infected with it. Some people remain entirely asymptotic but are carriers.

Yesterday, Banner Health officials warned against self-medicating to prevent or treat COVID-19 after a couple in their 60s ingested chloroquine phosphate, a chemical used to clean fish tanks. The man died and the woman remains in critical condition.

President Donald Trump has hailed chloroquine, which is sometimes used to treat malaria, as a treatment for COVID-19.

“Given the uncertainty around COVID-19, we understand that people are trying to find new ways to prevent or treat this virus, but self-medicating is not the way to do so,” said Dr. Daniel Brooks, Banner Poison and Drug Information Center medical director, in a prepared statement. “The last thing that we want right now is to inundate our emergency departments with patients who believe they found a vague and risky solution that could potentially jeopardize their health.”

As COVID-19 has spread, local and state officials limited restaurants to take-out and delivery services in counties where cases of the virus have been confirmed. Here’s a parital list of restaurants that are offering take-out and delivery services.

In the face of the spreading virus, Gov. Doug Ducey has ordered schools closed through April 10. He has also ordered bars, gyms and theaters to be closed in any county with confirmed COVID-19 cases, halted all elective surgery to keep hospital beds available for COVID-19 patients and activated the National Guard to assist in grocery stores as Arizonans clear the shelves.

According to the CDC, COVID-19 symptoms typically occur two to 14 days after exposure, and include fever, cough and shortness of breath. However, some cases of the virus are entirely asymptomatic. Practices to avoid infection include social distancing (of at least six feet), washing your hands, avoiding unnecessary trips and not touching your face. COVID-19 can survive on cardboard for up to 24 hours, and on stainless steel and plastic surfaces up to three days.

If you think you have been exposed to COVID-19 and develop a fever, cough or difficulty breathing, speak with a healthcare provider for medical advice. According to the CDC, people who are mildly ill with COVID-19 are able to recover at home. Stay at home and avoid public transportation, but stay in touch with your doctor. If you do leave your home, wear a facemask and clean your hands often. If you develop more severe symptoms (persistent pain or pressure in the chest, confusion, bluish lips) get medical attention immediately. Your local health authorities will give instructions on checking your symptoms and reporting information.

Have you caught COVID-19? Are you feeling ill? Is your small business struggling to make it Have you lost your job as a result of the outbreak? Are you struggling to manage your kids while schools are closed? Tell us your COVID-19 stories. Send an email to tucsoneditor@tucsonlocalmedia.com.

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