(Reuters) - Transmission of COVID-19 from children or adults to other people in Rhode Island childcare programs occurred on only a limited basis, a study by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention showed on Friday.
CDC Director Robert Redfield told reporters on a call that the findings indicated that there is a path "to get these childcare programs to reopen, which are very important for our country."
Many childcare facilities were shut due to fear of infection in such group settings during the coronavirus pandemic, one more complication for getting people back to work in the battered U.S. economy.
Such transmission was found in just four of the 666 childcare programs operating in the state, with 17 people becoming infected, according to the CDC analysis that covered June 1 to July 31.
While only limited transmission was detected in the childcare settings, the pandemic still had a major impact, with 853 children and staff members going into self-quarantine because an infected person had showed up at a facility.
About three-quarters of the 891 childcare programs had been allowed to reopen under CDC guidelines that included reduced enrollment, universal use of masks for adults, daily symptom screening of adults and children, and enhanced cleaning and disinfection.
The COVID-19 transmission in the four programs was identified mainly in the last two weeks of July, when community transmission in Rhode Island had increased, the researchers said.
(Reporting by Dania Nadeem in Bengaluru; Editing by Will Dunham)