Miami Trace provides weekly COVID update

By Jennifer Woods - and Ryan Carter

Miami Trace Local Schools notified parents and guardians Thursday that a district staff member tested positive for COVID-19, and on Friday reported that one additional staff member is in quarantine.

The staff member who tested positive “fills a role which has minimal interaction with students,” Miami Trace Superintendent Kim Pittser said. “The school district is working together with Fayette County Public Health (FCPH) to determine close contacts of the case. Those who are considered close contacts will be contacted directly by the health department. Close contacts will be asked to self-quarantine. If you are not contacted by the health department, then you have not been found to be a close contact.”

Miami Trace also provided its weekly update of totals for all students/staff quarantined for the week. These individuals do not relate just to the positive case reported Thursday, according to Pittser.

For the week of Sept. 28 to Oct. 2, there were zero new cases and three in quarantine at the elementary school. At the middle school, there were zero new cases and 10 in quarantine. At the high school, there were zero new cases and eight in quarantine.

Miami Trace also held an internal, socially distanced pep rally outside the district buildings on Friday afternoon.

“This afternoon’s internal pep rally format provides closure to our district-wide spirit week. As suggested, it involved only students and staff on campus. We hope all our students, in-person and virtual, have enjoyed sharing their Panther spirit,” Pittser said on Friday.

“Miami Trace would like to send a special thank you to Ms. Leigh Cannon (deputy health commissioner) and the health department members for providing guidance in order for students to safely participate in the spirit week’s closing activities. When we work together, we can make things happen in a safe and secure way so that our students still receive opportunities. Our partnerships in this community are outstanding, and we are grateful.”

Miami Trace Local Schools isn’t the only local school system to have concerns in relation to COVID-19. As previously reported, Fayette Christian School was closed on Monday and will remain closed through next week due to an outbreak of COVID-19 cases.

According to FCPH, as of Friday there were two more confirmed cases of COVID-19. The total local count of active cases is now 36.

With this new number, the total confirmed cases the county has had overall is 262 (240 of those cases have been confirmed while 22 were probable). Of those 262, 220 have recovered while six have passed away.

Currently, there are three hospitalizations due to the virus with the range of ages for those ill remaining from 1 year old to 91 years old.

FCHP is currently unable to give an estimation of the number of individuals being monitored or that have been exposed to the virus.

“Due to a significant increase in the number of cases reported this week, our staff is busy with contact tracing,” explained FCPH via a social media post. “We need your help to #StopTheSpread. If someone from the health department calls you, please answer. Contact tracing is an important tool in stopping the spread of infectious diseases such as COVID-19. Your information is kept confidential.”

FCPH is working with the Ohio Department of Health (ODH) to conduct contact tracing to determine if any of the close contacts of the confirmed or probable individuals are sick. All of these close contacts are asked to quarantine themselves for 14 days and monitor themselves for symptoms of fever, cough or shortness of breath.

“If you are not contacted, you did not have close extended contact with the cases,” explained FCPH.

Although Fayette County had previously dropped to a level one (yellow) emergency, it is back on a level two (orange) emergency. Per the Ohio COVID-19 risk level guidelines, level two indicates that there is active exposure and spread.

A travel advisory is in place: those entering Ohio after traveling to South Dakota, Kansas, Iowa, Idaho, Missouri, Mississippi and Wisconsin are advised to self-quarantine for 14 days.

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By Jennifer Woods

and Ryan Carter