STAYING HOME: Many parents had pre-emptively taken their children out of childcare before the announcement.
STAYING HOME: Many parents had pre-emptively taken their children out of childcare before the announcement.

Killarney child care closes after confirmed coronavirus case

A KILLARNEY childcare centre announced it would shut its doors, temporarily, after children were withdrawn from the centre and parents were diagnosed with COVID-19 on Saturday.

The Little Rascals Childcare Centre became exposed to the coronavirus after a local father picked up his two children from after school care on Tuesday evening.

According to operator Lorna McMahon, the man only briefly entered building during the routine pick up.

He had not yet begun to show symptoms.

Both the father and mother allegedly contracted COVID-19 from the same restaurant in Noosa where Warwick man Peter Wright caught the disease.

"They're devastated, they're shocked," Mrs McMahon said.

"The first thing for us was that the children were not showing any signs or symptoms."

Mrs McMahon said the children have not been tested because they were not presenting with any indication of the coronavirus.

"There are no confirmed cases of any child attending our centre," she said.

"And in the lead up to this event we had increased our cleaning and hygiene practises in line with government guidelines."

Nevertheless, the centre is booked to undergo a deep commercial clean as soon as possible and Mrs McMahon herself faces a period of self-isolation, as she came in close contact with the family outside of the workplace.

The real concern, however, is how the psychological burden of a growing pandemic will affect the children of Killarney.

"These children are going to remember the coronavirus, the same way they remembered 9/11," Mrs McMahon said.

"Parents need to be aware of that, and be sensible and not panic their children.

"The other day I had an eight year old girl come up to me and tell me how people would die, and how dreadful and scary it is.

"They are affected by this, it's really sad."

While the first positive case was concerning for the child care centre, it is not the main reason behind the closure.

"High volumes of children are being removed from childcare centres, particularly after the decision (to close restaurants, bars, gyms and churches) last night," Mrs McMahon said.

"We had families ringing up to keep children home until after the holidays or until things settle down, and there was only a handful left."

The centre is hoping to reopen on April 6, in time for the school holidays. In the meantime, Mrs McMahon implored her community to stick together through the challenging and unpredictable times.

"This virus isn't based on race, social status or country of origin," she said.

"It's times like these we need to look out for each other."