As Ohio businesses and other organizations begin to reopen, officials have been urging everyone to follow safety requirements as well as safety recommendations provided by the state.

On May 31, childcare providers, such as daycares and day camps, are allowed to reopen if the providers can meet required safety protocols.

During a May 14 press conference, a reporter asked Ohio Department of Health Director Dr. Amy Acton, M.D., MPH, if with childcare now reopening and a new inflammatory disease related to COVID-19 being seen in children, are we gambling on Ohio’s children by reopening childcare when we know so little about this virus.

“We don’t want to gamble — gamble’s a harsh word — on anyone in Ohio,” Acton said. “I mean there’s nothing that we care about more than getting our citizens safely through what we’re all facing … a terrible virus.”

She said that means we are all trying to learn how to live with the virus over the next year or two.

“And so we know that part of opening in any way we do makes childcare an absolutely essential piece of this, and we’re very concerned about, just the safety of kids overall — that kids have somebody who is watching them, that they’re skilled and the most highly trained people possible, that a parent is not having to make a difficult decision about having to go back to work and support their family and not knowing what to do with their kids,” Acton said.

“So we’re really trying to do so many things at one time. And we are watching this disease … This is a pediatric inflammatory disease. I had the opportunity to be on a national call the other night and hear from Dr. Howard Zucker who is my colleague in my position in the state of New York who really first brought this to the forefront. They have over 100 cases (186 reported cases in New York as of May 29 according to online information from New York state) of this (multisystem inflammatory disease) that they’re looking at now — very detailed work; they’re working with cardiologists, rheumatologists, not just around this country in our best children’s hospitals but all over the world, so we’re all trying to learn about this disease. We’re learning more and more about COVID all the time.

Dr. Acton indicated that the inflammatory disease in children is in Ohio, and she said that “our team, our infectious disease team, our clinical team, we’re working with all our children’s hospitals to keep an eye out for this and add once again to this body of knowledge as we learn.”

“And what this is … we see that COVID has this very exaggerated effect on our immune response and that normally happens in all of us when we fight off infections, but we’re seeing the effects of this inflammatory response on our body in all ages, not just children,” she said. “We’re seeing it in strokes and heart disease and kidney disease. But we’re trying to learn more alongside all of us in the country about the impact on children. So this will be something we are keeping a very close eye on.”

The reporter was referring to multisystem inflammatory syndrome (MIS-C), which is believed to be connected with COVID-19 and has been seen in a number of children and even caused the deaths of children. According to a story by Mary Esch, of the Associated Press, the disease “affects blood vessels and organs and has symptoms similar to Kawasaki disease and toxic shock.”

(See the full Associated Press story entitled ‘A pretty scary thing’ on newswatchman.com at https://www.newswatchman.com/news_advisories/article_7174ccc9-39d4-51cb-87fd-676ac02d756c.html and in the May 17 edition of the News Watchman.)

The full list of mandatory and recommended best practices for childcare providers can be found at https://coronavirus.ohio.gov/static/responsible/Sector-fact-sheet-8-Child-Care.pdf

Information about “What Parents Should Know About Sending Children Back to Child Care” can be found at https://coronavirus.ohio.gov/static/responsible/What-Parents-Should-Know.pdf

“This is a case in your life and it may be the only time in your life, we hope, where literally what you do every day and how you practice good common sense — keeping six feet away, wearing a mask — that is going to determine whether people live or die,” Ohio Governor Mike DeWine stated recently. “There are very few times in our life, maybe never, are we faced with a situation where we are doing something that can cost someone else their life, and I don’t think there are any of us who when we really think about it wants to do something that causes someone else to die or someone else, if they don’t die, to be sick.”

More detailed information on the Responsible RestartOhio plan can be found at www.coronavirus.ohio.gov/ResponsibleRestartOhio

For more information on Ohio’s response to COVID-19, including tips for prevention of the disease and slowing its spread, visit coronavirus.ohio.gov or call 1-833-4-ASK-ODH.

Email at mlucas@newswatchman.com; follow on Twitter @NewsWatchman.

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