New inspection report states daycare cited prior to meningitis scare

MIAMI (WSVN) - The CEO of a Downtown Miami daycare is speaking out after a meningitis scare and the deaths of two toddlers caused the facility to close down.

The YWCA Carol Glassman Donaldson Center has been shut down for a second day, Wednesday, as an investigation continues.

According to a newly released inspection report, which was written a few days before the first child died, the facility was cited for not having a specific area for sick children.

“We’re devastated. In 20 years of providing these services to the county, we’ve never had this happen,” said YWCA CEO Kerry Ann Royes. “These are our YW babies, and everything that we can do for our children, for our families, for our staff right now is what’s paramount.”

On Dec. 3, a 22-month-old who attended Carol Glassman Donaldson Center died after being diagnosed with bacterial meningitis. Days later, a second child, just 2 years old, who attended the school died. However, it was not confirmed he had meningitis.

“One of them was finally diagnosed as meningitis,” said Dr. Alvaro Mejia-Echeverry with Florida Department of Health. “The other child, we know that he had pneumonia, but they are studying him for further infections, or they are studying the specimens that they collected.”

Lab tests are being run to discover the cause of death for the second child.

A state health inspection, which was done on Dec. 1, DCF cited the center and said, “The facility did not have an isolation area designated for the care of an ill child.”

In the comments section, it read, “As per the director, the center does not have an isolation area. TA was given to the director that she need to find an area adequately ventilated, needs to have a mat. Director stated that she is getting the area ready for re-inspection in 30 days.”

The scare caused the daycare to be closed down on Tuesday and remains closed through Wednesday. The facility is reported to have been sanitized twice as well.

“They don’t know if the cases are connected or if there’s any connection to the daycare themselves,” said Jose Galan, assistant director at Miami-Dade County’s Internal Services Department. “They obviously know that the two kids attended the daycare, so its something that they’re looking into.”

On Dec. 7, a letter was sent to parents about the 22-month-old child’s death.

While the investigation continues, officials recommend that parents look out for signs of meningitis. These include fever, severe headache, stiff neck, nausea, confusion and drowsiness.

“All our families need to recognize, this is the flu season. We just want to remind our families that you want to not ignore any symptoms,” Royes said. “We are working with our partners at the DOH – Department of Health – and DCF to continue to work together and make sure that our families are safe.”

The facility remained closed Wednesday and will do so until state officials give the all-clear.

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