Alberta has been facing an E. coli outbreak in daycares in and around Calgary, but there’s been no sign of the bacteria rearing its head in Saskatchewan.
Alberta Health Services (AHS) has declared an E. coli outbreak at six Calgary daycares and five additional sites “that share a central kitchen.”
As of Sept. 14, AHS said that there were 329 lab-confirmed cases linked to the outbreak. Thirteen patients are currently in hospital care, all of which are children.
Symptoms of an E. coli infection can include fever, abdominal pain, vomiting and watery or bloody diarrhea. Severe illness can sometimes require hospitalization.
Dean Dodge is the CEO for the YMCA in Saskatoon and said they have over 300 kids in their licensed childcare.
“We have childcares that are 35 spaces up to 90 spaces,” Dodge said.
He said they have breakfast, lunches and snacks throughout the day for their kids which is prepared by professional cooks.
He said the situation in Calgary was incredibly disconcerting, noting over 300 families were impacted.
“The food that we produce stays in that centre. We don’t transport food, which there’s a risk to transporting food.”
Dodge explained that they go through licensing and inspection each year, calling it a very extensive process.
He said the inspection entails things like furnace and boiler inspections, fire extinguisher inspections, and kitchen and food handling inspections.
“We work regularly with the ministry, consultants and staff every month, every week of the year on all the different pieces that we do.”
Global News reached out the Ministry of Health and received a statement.
“Licensed child care centres are inspected annually by Saskatchewan Health Authority Public Health Inspectors. General sanitation, infection control measures, and food services are assessed during inspection based on established criteria,” the statement reads.
The ministry noted that child care facilities in Saskatoon that are affiliated with the ones that were shut down in the Calgary area were inspected within the last two weeks, but noted there were no issues detected.