Alberta Health Services (AHS) has confirmed that 11 Calgary daycares connected to one common kitchen called Fueling Minds Inc. have resulted in 310 cases of E. coli.
Twenty-one children are currently receiving treatment. Twenty patients have developed Hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS) from their E. coli. HUS is a rare but serious condition that affects the kidneys and blood clotting functions. This damage can lead to kidney failure, which could be life-threatening.
Last week, AHS stated that the E. coli outbreak took place at six Fueling Brains Academy daycare locations, plus five other child-care sites. All of the affected daycare facilities share a central kitchen run by Fueling Minds Inc.
Kent Hehr, previously a Liberal MP representing central Calgary and now holding the position of Vice-President for Strategic Partnerships and Growth at Fueling Brains, said that Fueling Brains and Fueling Minds operate as distinct and independent entities. However, both companies have the same directors.
AHS ordered the 11 daycares to be closed last week but as of Wednesday have lifted the order.
AHS’ Dr. Franco Rizzuti said “The closure orders were rescinded only after Alberta Health Services determined the facilities are safe environments for children and the staff.”
Rizzuti added that upon investigating the daycare sites following the outbreak, at least three severe health violations were found.
E. coli infections most commonly occur after eating contaminated food, such as undercooked meat.
Hehr said in a statement, “We remain focused on supporting our kids, families and staff during this very difficult time and are committed to working with AHS in determining the exact source of the infections and will implement any changes in our operations and processes that are required.”
Kent Hehr resigned in disgrace from Justin Trudeau’s cabinet in 2018, amid unproven accusations of sexual harassment.
“I have been informed that an investigation into these allegations has begun and I welcome and respect this process. While this is ongoing, I have resigned from cabinet pending the outcome of the investigation. I do not want to be a distraction to all the good work being done by our government,” he said.