HAWTHORNE, Calif. — As COVID-19 cases rise in Los Angeles County, day care providers are concerned about staying open and safe.
The county is now passing out at-home test kits to 8,000 licensed child care providers to keep centers open and keep parents at work.
What You Need To Know
- As COVID-19 cases rise in Los Angeles County, day care providers are concerned about staying open and safe
- The county is now passing out at-home test kits to 8,000 licensed child care providers
- More information is available at childcare.lacounty.gov
- LA County also has an at-home test collection program for all residents
Tonya Muhammad has been a child care provider for 30 years. Welcoming kids back to her home after the surge in COVID cases has been a challenge.
"You got the cold, you got the flu, you got COVID. We don't know, we're not doctors," she said. "So you have to get tested before you can come to the day care. You can't come with any symptoms."
Finding a test has been hard for parents, and the threat of sick kids in her home is hard for Muhammad.
"This is how we make our money, too. But we're in our homes," Muhammad said. "Even the doctors go to the hospital, and they go home. But we're in our homes."
To help, LA County has given out 44,000 at-home test kits to licensed child care providers. If day cares aren't open, parents can't go to work. That's why Debra Coleman of the Office of Early Childcare and Education says getting tests to providers in critical.
"Without an early childcare education system, we really have challenges in our recovery from COVID-19 in getting folks back to work," Coleman said.
Muhammad said the tests really help but noted that providers need even more county support to help parents and the economy.
"They are only giving us 16 COVID days a year right now, where if someone contracts COVID, we can be closed and be paid for it. However, with omicron, everybody is getting COVID," Muhammad said. "It's just not enough. We need more."
The at-home tests are available to providers via their assigned resource and referral agency. The county distributed the at-home tests in anticipation of a holiday surge and planned to release more as they became available.
More information is available at childcare.lacounty.gov.
LA County also has an at-home test collection program for all residents. Anyone who has symptoms or thinks they were exposed can be mailed a test. Find out more at covid19.lacounty.gov.