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8 children, 5 adults sickened at Pa. childcare center

Several patients experiencing headaches and dizziness at a North Whitehall childcare center were transported to area hospitals

By Pamela Sroka-Holzmann
The Express-Times

NORTH WHITEHALL TOWNSHIP, Pa. — State police are investigating why multiple adults and children fell ill Wednesday morning inside a North Whitehall childcare center.

Trooper Nathan Branosky, public information officer with Pennsylvania State Police’s Troop M, told crews at 10:32 a.m. were dispatched to Lehigh Valley Children’s Centers (LVCC), 3880 Park Ave.

A total of eight children — ranging in age from infant to toddler — and five adults were taken by ambulance to area hospitals. All staff and children were evacuated from the building, Branosky said.

Branosky said those transported to area hospitals reported symptoms that were not life-threatening. Symptoms were mostly headaches and dizziness, he said. Authorities are calling the incident an “inside hazard” with crews from a Lehigh County Special Operations unit currently testing at the scene.

No one answered the phone Wednesday afternoon at the North Whitehall childcare center and its voicemail box was full. LVCC did, however, shortly after noon Wednesday alerted parents to the incident on the business’ facebook page.

“Thanks to the LVCC Park Avenue staff for their prompt evacuation to ensure the safety of all within the center. More details to follow,” the posting states.

Brian Downs, spokesman for the Lehigh Valley Health Network, told Lehigh Valley Hospital-Cedar Crest in Salisbury Township received nine children and five adults following the incident. All symptoms are currently listed as being minor and stable, Downs said.

Aside from state police, also responding were Lehighton Emergency Medical Services, Northampton Regional Emergency Medical Services, Northern Valley Emergency Medical Services, Neffs Volunteer Fire Co. and fire companies from North Whitehall.

The chain of childcare centers, in existence for about five decades in the Lehigh Valley, has at least nine sites. The facilities care for children aged infant to elementary-aged with full-time, part-time, daily and hourly drop-in rates. The Schnecksville location, known as Park Avenue Kids Korner, opened in 2019, according to its website.

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