Wilmot UHS staff member tests positive for COVID-19

A Wilmot Union High School staff member has tested positive for COVID-19, the school administration announced Friday afternoon.

School will not be closed, but the student and close contacts will be quarantined.

From a news release from the school and county health department:

A Wilmot Union High School staff member tested positive for COVID-19, the Wilmot Union High School District and the Kenosha County Division of Health announced jointly today.

This is the first confirmed case of the virus within Wilmot Union High School since students returned to in-person and virtual learning on September 1, 2020.

The individual was in the building Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday but had no symptoms at the time.

The staff member began self-quarantining once symptoms were developed on Thursday.

The Kenosha County Division of Health is working with the school to assist in identifying and reaching close contacts of this individual. These contacts will also be required to quarantine for 14 days from the last date of exposure. Close contacts include those who: Had direct physical contact with the infected individuals (e.g. a hug or handshake); were within six feet of the COVID-19-positive individuals for more than 15 minutes; had contact with respiratory secretions from the infected individuals (e.g. were coughed/sneezed on, had contact with dirty tissue, or shared a drinking glass, food or towels or other personal items).

Those who do not receive a phone call from the Division of Health or a close contact letter from Wilmot Union High School were likely not in contact with the COVID-19-positive individual and are therefore not considered to be in a higher-risk group. Classroom-wide quarantines are being limited to the room where this individual had classes.

District Administrator Dan Kopp said, “We worked closely with the Kenosha County Health Department to identify affected students and staff who need to be quarantined to ensure the safety and well-being of all. This important safety measure is in place to prevent further spread of infection by those who were in close contact with the COVID-19-positive individual. In addition, enhanced cleaning of affected areas has occurred.”

“It’s important to remember that COVID-19 cannot be transmitted by simply passing an infected person in the hallway,” said Kenosha County Health Director Dr. Jen Freiheit. “That’s not a close contact. Only those close contacts within classrooms or elsewhere will receive a close-contact quarantine letter.”

Freiheit noted that per a recent advisory from the Wisconsin Department of Health Services, the wearing of cloth face coverings — while an important safeguard against the spread of COVID-19 — should not be taken into account when determining whether a person was a close contact with a COVID-19-positive individual.

Only medical-grade personal protection equipment, worn by individuals trained in its used, is considered able to reduce the risk of transmission sufficiently to make quarantine unnecessary for those who had close contact to a person with COVID-19.

Parents are urged to monitor their students and other family members for any COVID-19 symptoms, including fever, cough, shortness of breath, loss of taste or smell, fatigue, headaches, etc. Those who do become symptomatic should call their health care provider.

Freiheit said parents should not send students to school even with minor symptoms such as a persistent headache, runny nose or cough. In this case and others, those who find out they have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive for virus should call their health care provider and seek testing.

A frequently updated list of testing sites in and around Kenosha County is available online at https://www.kenoshacounty.org/2058/COVID-19-Testing-Locations. More information about the virus, including local data and links to resources, is available on the Kenosha County COVID-19 Response Hub website, at https://www.kenoshacounty.org/covid-19.

If you would like more information on COVID-19 safety in school, visit https://kenosha-county-covid-19-response-kenoshacounty.hub.arcgis.com/, or call the Division of Health at 262-605-6700.

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