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Daycare closes in coronavirus exposure

Sunshine and Rainbows Daycare closed after operators found out that a person exposed to coronavirus had been there.
Kurt Hildebrand

A Gardnerville daycare has closed for 30 days after operators were notified that someone who entered the business tested positive for coronavirus.

According to a letter to parents issued March 18, operators of Sunshine and Rainbows Daycare said they were not directed to shut down because there was minimal exposure, but felt they needed the time to deep clean the center.

The daycare and the state licensing board and health department have been in contact, and the center closed 6 p.m. Friday.

The notice is dated, March 18, on the same day that it was announced a woman in her 30s was reported to be the first case of the coronavirus in Douglas County.

On Saturday, Douglas health officials said they are investigating the case to determine how the person contracted the disease.

“It is important for us to be thorough in our investigation to make sure we do our due diligence and do not release information that is inaccurate,” said Jessica Rapp, public information officer for Carson City Health and Human Services. “Part of our investigative process is to also contact those who are believed to possibly have been exposed to the positive case and to monitor them.”

The Carson City agency handles public health for Douglas County.

Rapp said under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, information that doesn’t identify individuals can be released. State law also requires maintaining confidentiality in cases of communicable diseases.

Health officials are allowed to provide information “for statistical purposes, provided that the identity of the people is not discernable from the information disclosed.”

Rapp said the department is sensitive to the concerns of the public.

“We are taking every step necessary to complete our investigation in a timely manner, maintain the confidentiality of the patient, and provide the public with accurate information so they can protect themselves,” Rapp said. “We continue to ask the public to do their part in helping to prevent the spread of COVID-19 by staying home when they are sick, avoiding people who are sick, washing their hand frequently, coughing into their elbow, and to avoid touching their face, eyes, and mouth. All of us have a role in these prevention efforts.”