COVID-19 outbreak tied to Sonoma County preschools, childcare centers

Sonoma County Public Health Officer Dr. Sundari Mase announced COVID-19 has been traced to 13 pre-school and home based-child care centers throughout Sonoma County, infecting dozens of children, relatives, and staff.

"We have had 62 cases in child care settings or schools that provide daycare," she said during an online presentation Wednesday.

She said of those infected 25 are children, 27 are family members and 10 are child care workers.

The county would not reveal which centers are affected. They are temporarily closed. Patients are either still in quarantine or have recently finished.

One facility had almost half the cases, all linked to one child.

"We've had one in the north county that had 30 cases as of September 15. Sixteen students. Looks like one of the students was the first case. That outbreak is ongoing," she said.

The county is performing contact tracing in the cases.

"The good news in this story is there are no hospitalizations. That is key. It means people are doing well," Dr. Vanila Singh, the past Chief Medical Officer for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. She says outbreaks at child care facilities, in general, are not unexpected.

"It's not surprising because it is likely people are coming within close contact the younger age group, in particular, it is going to be hard to social distance," Singh said.

She says most children can successfully fight the virus. Many health experts believe children are more likely to pass on the virus to others than be sidelined by it. 

"Kids who have it will probably do okay with it. But they can certainly transmit it. It could be grandma, grandpa," Singh said.

In Sonoma County, like other places, many are pushing for reopening schools.

"This is when we still at this point haven't heard or approved any waivers for in-person education," said Mase.

Sonoma County is still in the purple tier for reopening, which is the lowest category per the state's guidelines.