- On April 17, 2020
Blood tests recommended for affected children
Even as Wake County works to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, county staff continues to monitor for other environmental contaminants through routine inspections of facilities that serve the public.
On Thursday, Wake County mailed notices to about 70 families whose children may have been exposed to unsafe levels of lead dust at two downtown Raleigh facilities that serve children – Beginnings and Beyond Child Development Center and Sacred Heart Cathedral School.
“While COVID-19 is on the top of everyone’s minds, Wake County is continuing the everyday inspections that protect residents from other threats to their health,” said Andre Pierce, director of Environmental Health and Safety. “Restaurants are still serving take-out, essential workers are still entrusting their children to daycares, and our inspectors are still behind the scenes working to keep facilities up to safe and accepted standards.”
The findings of lead dust would not require the facilities to close, but each location has already closed voluntarily due to COVID-19. Inspectors test for lead dust by collecting samples with wet wipes and sending them to the N.C. State Laboratory of Public Health for analysis.
Wake County has notified the operators of each facility and provided guidance for cleaning up the dust. Sacred Heart Cathedral School has already completed cleaning, and more recent tests show lead levels have been reduced to meet the standards enforced in North Carolina.
A simple blood test can determine whether a child has been exposed to lead. The notices mailed to parents recommend scheduling an appointment with a primary care physician or the Wake County Human Services children’s clinic.
As families get blood testing for children, they should maintain social distancing and take other steps to prevent exposure to COVID-19. Wake County has implemented policies to prevent the spread of COVID-19 at its clinics, including closing nonessential services to reduce visits.
Lead poisoning can cause learning difficulties, behavioral problems, and other adverse health consequences. For parents with additional questions, the mailed notice will include contact information for a Wake County lead specialist.
Protecting Staff and
Since the outbreak of COVID-19, Wake County Environmental Health and Safety has continually updated its procedures for inspections according to the latest CDC guidelines.
Routine inspections continue for restaurants operating take-out and delivery service under the stay-at-home order. Among other precautions, Wake County staff are wearing face masks and practicing social distancing during visits.
To reduce the number of outsiders who come into contact with at-risk populations, Wake County has paused regular inspections of long-term care facilities, such as nursing homes and assisted living centers. If a specific report warrants inspection at one of these facilities, staff wears comprehensive personal protective equipment, including gloves, gowns, masks and face shields.
Wake County has made it easy for you to stay updated on the latest information about COVID-19. You can visit our COVID-19 webpage, which has a set of frequently asked questions to educate residents in English and in Spanish, a list of COVID-19-related closures and service changes, as well as an email address and phone number that people can use to ask personal health-related questions about COVID-19.
The county is also sharing important information on its Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts.