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Tiger Tots owner: Positive COVID-19 case was going to happen eventually

Tiger Tots Child Care
ABC 17 News
Tiger Tots Child Care


The owner of a Columbia daycare where a child tested positive for COVID-19 said a case at the facility was inevitable despite safeguards the child care center is taking against the coronavirus.

Owner Paul Prevo said the Tiger Tots west location student was asymptomatic and that the rest of the child's family members have all tested negative.

"Since day one, we knew that there was going to eventually be a case of COVID-19 at Tiger Tots," Prevo said Friday. "It had to be expected. It wasn't going to just stop just because the sidewalk in front of our building has a sign that says Tiger Tots by it."

The preschool posted details on its Facebook page Thursday. The post said the health department notified the preschool Thursday about the student.

"The consistent effort to follow stable group and staffing procedures, as well as stringent sanitation and disinfecting processes, has been successful in limiting this exposure to a very small group of Tiger Tots’ students and teachers," the post said. "All teachers and parents with a student potentially affected by this situation have been personally contacted by administration and will be working with the Boone County Health Department to quarantine for 14 days."

Boone County health orders require preschools and daycares to keep children in groups of 25 that don't change to limit their exposure to other children.

Prevo has sued the head of the Columbia/Boone County health department over those orders. The case against Stephanie Browning continues in her capacity as a city official.

The student was tested through contact tracing after having contact with someone outside of Tiger Tots, according to the preschool.

"Zero symptoms at all," Prevo said. "The only reason they were tested was because of contact tracing because a friend of theirs who attends another center in town got it from a student that was there."

Prevo said that as the community is able to do more contact tracing, he expects there to be more cases, especially asymptomatic ones.

"We expect the numbers to go up in every category," Prevo said. "That's going to be the natural thing when you do more tests, you're going to have more positives."

Prevo said the daycare has followed all directions from local health authorities, including sanitation and temperature checks.

Tiger Tots has many safeguards in place to help stop the spread of COVID-19.

There are specific areas just inside the doorway of a classroom or buildings where the parents are allowed to pick up and drop off their children. Tiger Tots checks the students' temperatures upon arrival and throughout the day.

Prevo said all staff members who are ill are required to stay at home and parents are asked to keep their children at home if they are ill, as well.

Tiger Tots focuses extra sanitizing on its playgrounds, cleaning equipment between every classroom's use of it.

Prevo said this positive case just gives everyone a little extra reminder as to why the daycare has been taking precautions.

Lucio Bitoy, Columbia/Boone County Health Department spokesman, said most of the new cases under the age of 15 in Boone County are from household contacts with older people who have tested positive.

"We have started recommending close contacts get tested at five and 14 days after their last exposure to a confirmed case," Bitoy said. "By doing so, we are identifying cases more quickly."

Bitoy said not all of the younger cases in Boone County come from the same household or had contact with the same confirmed case, but there is a trend of younger household contacts being found to be confirmed cases.

According to the City of Columbia's COVID-19 data hub webpage Boone County has 10 positive COVID-19 cases under the age of 15.

Boone / Columbia / News / Top Stories
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Amber Tabeling

Amber joined the ABC 17 News team as a multimedia journalist in December 2019. She was a student-athlete at Parkland College and Missouri Valley College. She hails from a small town in Illinois.


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