Area Schools Report 19 COVID Cases

Between Sept. 1 and Sept. 8, schools in Wasco and Sherman counties reported 19 cases of COVID-19. School- based cases can be reported among students, staff or volunteers. None were due to transmission in the school setting.

“It’s been outside cases,” said Janelle Sandoz, RN, North Central Public Health District’s (NCPHD) school liaison for COVID-19.

“It tells me that the mitigation efforts that have been in place at schools such as mask use, physical distancing, HEPA filters and good ventilation are working,” Sandoz said. “It’s just basically been from household spread or community spread.”

Reported were:

· four cases at Sherman County School

· three at Dufur School

· one at South Wasco County School District in Maupin

· one at Riverbend Community School

· three at Dry Hollow Elementary

· two at The Dalles High School

· two at The Dalles Middle School

· three at Colonel Wright Elementary

Chenowith Elementary has not had any cases during this timeframe but has students out on quarantine related to cases outside the school.

Sandoz urged anyone who tests positive on a home test to get a confirming test at their doctor’s office or NCPHD.

Once a case is reported to NCPHD, the school is notified, and the school is in charge of contact tracing within the school setting and relaying to those close contacts NCPHD’s instructions for quarantine.

“Although the numbers don’t seem like they’re that high, the amount of workload and extra responsibility it’s put on the schools is really dismaying,” Sandoz said.

Fully vaccinated people do not have to quarantine if they are a close contact of a positive case, but should continue to monitor for any symptoms for the following 14 days. Ideally they should be tested 3-5 days after their exposure.

In the K-12 indoor classroom setting, a student who has been within three to six feet of another student with COVID-19 where both were consistently wearing their masks, and other school prevention strategies were in place are not considered exposed. This exception doesn’t apply to teachers, staff or other adults.

People who are not fully vaccinated must quarantine while they are most likely to be infectious. Although a 14- day quarantine is the safest option to prevent the spread of COVID to others, there are two options for ending quarantine early for those without symptoms:

· after 10 days without a negative test and no symptoms, or

· after seven days and no symptoms with a negative COVID test on day 5, 6 or 7. If they get a negative test, they can go back to school on Day 8.

The most common symptoms for youth, according to a pediatric COVID-19 report released in May by the Oregon Health Authority, are cough, runny nose, headache and fever. For adults its cough, headache, body aches and loss of smell, Sandoz said.

Vaccines free, safe and effective, and the Pfizer vaccine is authorized for those 12 and older. Visit your doctor’s office or call NCPHD at 541-506-2600 to book an appointment. Wasco County residents get a $50 VISA card for their first dose while supplies last.

(For more information, please visit COVID-19 Vaccine in Oregon, contact North Central Public Health District at (541) 506-2600, visit us on the web at or find us on Facebook.)