At Least 245 Teachers And 199 Students In Mississippi Test Positive For COVID
Mississippi health officials say 2,035 students and 589 teachers are quarantined because of virus exposure
State health officials in Mississippi have confirmed that 71 of the state’s 82 counties have reported positive COVID-19 cases in schools — which just opened last week for many districts. At least 245 teachers and 199 students have been diagnosed with COVID. Over 2,000 students and nearly 600 teachers are now quarantined due to being exposed to someone who was diagnosed with COVID.
State Health Officer Dr. Thomas Dobbs confirmed the outbreaks earlier this week as Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves announced that he is introducing telehealth in schools and expanding COVID-19 testing for teachers. Social distancing and masks are required by mandate in all schools in Mississippi.
“Today, as we work to ensure that children can achieve some quality learning in the state of Mississippi, we are announcing two measures to increase access to health care and COVID-19 prevention in schools. First, we are expanding school-based emergency telehealth coverage throughout the state of Mississippi,” Reeves said in a statement. “This will allow schools, even those without school nurses or school-based clinics, to access telehealth services. We also know that testing can allow us to prevent the spread of the virus by immediately identifying and isolating known cases. As teachers return to the classroom, we want to make it simple for them to get access to testing.”
Mississippi just the latest state to see a spike in COVID cases upon reopening schools. Earlier this month, nearly 300 staff members at a Georgia school were affected by an outbreak. At least nine students at North Paulding High School outside of Atlanta tested positive for COVID after a photo showing students in a crowded hallway without masks went viral.
In Tennessee, at least 7,572 school-aged kids tested positive at the end of July — and schools hadn’t even opened yet. The Tennessee Department of Health posted data about positive tests in kids between the ages of 5 and 18, and they say the number is likely much higher since kids with milder symptoms are likely not being tested.
Over the summer, several camps were shut down due to COVID outbreaks as well, proving that we know what happens when children and young adults congregate: the virus spreads. Colleges and universities across the country are now moving to distance learning as outbreaks have been spreading on-campus.
The governor of Mississippi said he is currently working with the Mississippi State Department of Health to provide more flexibility for teachers to get tested for COVID-19. The expanding testing for teachers will allow them to get tested even if they have not shown symptoms of the virus or come in close contact with someone who has been diagnosed with coronavirus.
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