Next steps for North Dakota Department of Health after a student tests positive for COVID-19

North Dakota COVID-19 Default Graphic
North Dakota COVID-19 Default Graphic(Station)
Published: Sep. 5, 2020 at 7:36 PM CDT
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FARGO, N.D. (Valley News Live) -School preparedness for the COVID-19 Pandemic has been a hot-topic for months now as the illness continues to grow. Locally, we had our first case of students being sent home due to potential COVID-19 exposure at South High School. This is something that health officials have been prepared for as explained by School Health Specialist Sarah Massey.

“Our teams have really ramped up with identifying those school contacts as quickly as we can”, Massey said, “and working with those schools to make sure we are protecting the rest of that school staff in their buildings.”

After a positive case is reported by the school, student, or parent, The School COVID Coordinator group along with local public health units, spring into action. They first work to identify anyone who may come have come into close contact with the student who tested positive. This not only includes those in school but also came into contact with them socially or even with extra-curricular activities. Once they have them identified, officials inform them that they should quarantine for 14 days.

Massey says one goal is to guide schools through an extensive process which is brand new to everyone involved saying that “our teams at the local public health level and at the state level are here to bring that voice of calm and reason, and walk them through this process and provide as much support as we can to the schools as they’re working through these uncertain waters.”

They also waste no time in this process and immediately begin the search for those who may have been exposed.

Massey says that after they are told of the potential exposure the Department of health is “in action within an hour and we are contacting the school and beginning that process of identifying those close contacts.”

Copyright 2020 KVLY. All rights reserved.

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