Increase in COVID cases among schools concerns Douglas County Health Department

Published: Oct. 29, 2020 at 4:44 PM CDT
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - Seven positive COVID cases in recent days forced Omaha Public Schools to shut down Highland Elementary School and teach all the students through remote learning.

Douglas County Health Department officials we’re seeing more cases in our schools, and that the schools are a reflection of the increases we see in our community.

The Douglas County Health Department tracks COVID activity in school districts throughout the county.

Numbers released today from the Douglas County Health Department, show 149 COVID cases reported in the last 14 days for all schools combined in the county including 90 cases among staff and 59 for students. 174 staff and students in the county are under quarantine and 448 are self-monitoring.

The state’s largest school district posted these numbers on their web site for the week of October 23rd.

OPS shows 46 newly diagnosed cases among staff with 51 active cases and 245 staff quarantined. Among students, 51 new cases with 55 active cases and 636 students quarantined.

Justin Frederick of the Douglas County Health Department says some of the discrepancies in the numbers are due to the different ways the schools in the county and the health department are counting cases.

“We are asking schools to report cases and exposures that happened at school. I know that some of the school districts are interested in exposures that happened outside of school as well, that way they can implement self-monitoring or quarantine if needed as well,” said Frederick.

Frederick says we are seeing an increase in the number of cases in schools because we have an increase in cases in the community right now and he says the numbers don’t reflect what happens when an infected person comes home from school.

"You’re absolutely right we don’t see the effects of a single case and when they go home and they expose mom and dad, siblings, that may attend other schools play sports on other teams or grandparents, etc., said Frederick.

Frederick says what’s happening in schools across the county is concerning, especially when you add up what’s going on in our community.

“Our numbers are increasing quickly, our hospitalizations are increasing and when we see an increase in hospitalizations obviously the next thing to come is additional deaths in the community,” said Frederick.

Frederick says the health department works with schools every day, he says school districts throughout the county are doing a good job mitigating the virus.

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