Boys & Girls Club of Bend’s COVID-19 Response Update
December 4, 2020
The Boys & Girls Clubs of Bend has worked tirelessly to maintain a safe place for local youth since the pandemic began affecting our community. After 24 weeks without any positive COVID-19 cases, the downtown Boys & Girls Club reported five positive cases between Friday, December 4th and Wednesday, December 9th. Due to these cases and the impact on staffing, all of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Bend’s locations (including East Bend, Downtown and groups at Bend Church) will remain closed for all groups through December 18th. This would have marked the last day of scheduled Club programs before Winter Break, which means Clubs will be closed for the rest of the month and reopen on January 4th.
On Friday (12/4), the Club informed staff and parents about their first positive case at the downtown club in the teen program. On Saturday (12/5), the Club informed parents and staff of another case in the 3rd grade cohort and made the decision to close for a week in order to accomplish the following:
- Work with local health authorities to determine potential exposures and if there was any connection between the two positive cases
- Examine internal logs and interview staff with positive cases to determine if any additional individuals were exposed
- Prevent any further transmission from asymptomatic carriers
- Conduct a risk assessment with our leadership team to determine if there were activities or locations that could contribute to further transmission within our Clubs
On December 9th, the Club informed parents and staff of three new positive cases: an additional case in the 3rd grade cohort, a case in the Kindergarten cohort, and a case of a program leadership staff (in which no members were determined to be exposed). All positive cases were staff members.
The Club also privately informed anyone who was directly exposed to one of the positive cases and advised them to quarantine. Because the Oregon Health Authority considers this an outbreak, they recommended all staff and members use caution, especially in the next two weeks since potential last exposures on Friday, December 4th.
After working very closely with the Deschutes County Public Health Department and the Early Learning Division, the Club’s Executive Team determined the point of transmission within the downtown Club to be a room that staff used to take lunch breaks. While staff were very mindful of social distancing, after further examination of the space, it was determined there were times when more than six feet of distancing was not maintained, while unmasked and eating lunch. No members were present in this room at any time during these lunch breaks. The Club’s leadership recognizes that this was a very unfortunate blind spot in their prevention efforts and encourages other organizations to avoid break room usage where distancing cannot be maintained. They have taken every care to keep each cohort separate, wear masks at all times, clean and sanitize the building, and wash hands frequently.
Boys & Girls Clubs of Bend is taking the following steps to mitigate risk of further transmission during and after the closure:
- Going forward, the room will not be used by staff for breaks.
- Their risk assessment team has identified additional signage to post throughout the building, as well as additional areas that will be marked to ensure more than 6 feet of distancing between staff is always maintained.
- They have also taken this time to have the facilities professionally deep cleaned and sanitized. This is in addition to regular cleaning and sanitization efforts.
- During the closure, they will be fully evaluating all protocols internally and with outside experts to determine if there are additional preventative measures that can be implemented. They plan to release enhanced guidelines to their members prior to the New Year.
In June, the Club opened for an 11-week summer camp and this Fall and has been providing full-day programing and support for distancing learning. Throughout these programs, Boys & Girls Clubs of Bend have been closely following Oregon Health Authority’s protocols for Emergency Childcare Operations to ensure best practices for preventing or minimizing the transmission of COVID-19 within the Clubs.
If you have any questions, please contact us at 541.617.2877 ext. 0