The number of COVID-19 cases in Highland County schools remains low, Highland County Health Commissioner Jared Warner reported Wednesday.
This week, Lynchburg-Clay had two new cases involving students and one case involving a staff member, according to Warner.
Last week, Greenfield Exempted Village School District had two student cases.
As of Thursday, the Ohio Department of Health reported that Bright Local, Fairfield Local, the Highland County Board of Developmental Disabilities, Hillsboro Christian Academy, Hillsboro City, St. Mary Catholic, and Stonewall Academy have no cases.
In a Wednesday post to the Highland County Health Department’s Facebook page, Warner stressed the importance of protecting patients’ identities, especially as some students have reportedly faced negative treatment from their peers and other community members.
“The health department will never release the name of a sick student, or what class they are in, or what teachers that they have during the day,” Warner wrote. “We will speak directly with the close contacts that we are able to identify through contact tracing, and the parents in the impacted school will be contacted. We aren’t going to name the students, so please stop calling my nurses to ask. I understand your concerns, but these calls keep the nursing team from doing other important work.
“This is a small community, and if you know the names of these students, keep it to yourself. These students have done nothing wrong, and they should not be getting angry messages or any other criticism from their classmates or the community. This is a pandemic, and people are going to get sick. Be kind.”
Warner also explained a series of terms and related processes:
* Close contact — “A close contact is defined by the CDC as someone who was within 6 feet of an infected person for at least 15 minutes starting from 2 days before illness onset.”
* Infectious window — “We look back 48 hours from when symptoms first occur in a COVID-19 patient. If you had contact with a COVID-19 case earlier than that time frame, we will not be considering you a close contact and you will not be quarantined. You do not need to call the health department and ask about your potential exposure. We will call you if you meet the close contact definition.”
* Contacts of contacts — “Only people who are directly in contact with a positive case are placed into quarantine. Other people in the house with a quarantined person are not under any restriction. This changes if the person being quarantined develops symptoms. This system is not perfect, as we know that some COVID-19 cases are asymptomatic, but it is a proven tool for reducing the spread of COVID-19 in the community.”
For more information about the COVID-19 response in Ohio, visit coronavirus.ohio.gov.
Reach McKenzie Caldwell at 937-402-2570.