New report furthers understanding COVID-19 transmission in schools

Contact: Ginny Streeter, Communications   360-810-1628
 

OLYMPIA – Today, the Washington State Department of Health (DOH) released the COVID-19 Outbreaks in Washington State K-12 Schools report. The report is yet another tool that school districts and local health jurisdictions (LHJs) can use to inform decisions about when and how to bring students, educators and staff back for in-person learning.

The report includes data about K-12 schools across the state of Washington that experienced a COVID-19 outbreak from August 1, 2020 through December 31, 2020, including both public and private schools and all learning modalities. An outbreak is defined as two or more positive COVID-19 cases among students or staff with an onset of symptoms within a 14-day period of each other. During that timeframe:

  • 13 counties reported COVID-19 outbreaks associated with schools
  •  84 K-12 schools experienced COVID-19 outbreaks
  • 305 COVID-19 cases were associated with outbreaks in schools
  • 64% of outbreaks involved two or three cases
  • 50% of COVID-19 cases were students age 18 or under

“There’s encouraging news here,” said Laura Newman, PhD, MHS, COVID-19 Outbreak Response Senior Epidemiologist. “We are seeing fairly low levels of COVID-19 transmission within school settings so far. The majority of COVID-19 outbreaks in schools involve three or fewer cases, and school administrators, teachers, and staff are doing a good job of implementing preventative measures that limit the spread of COVID-19.”

“Our goal is to help schools protect the health of their staff and students, the families they go home to and the broader community. We are sharing these data so that educators, families, local public health, and communities can see and learn from what’s happening in schools with regards to COVID-19.” added Lacy Fehrenbach, MPH, Deputy Secretary of Health, COVID-19 Response.

The next COVID-19 report about outbreaks in schools will be released at the end of February and will include outbreak data from August 1, 2020 through January 31, 2021.

More COVID-19 Resources for K-12 Schools and Child Care are available at https://www.doh.wa.gov/Emergencies/COVID19/ResourcesandRecommendations.

The DOH website is your source for a healthy dose of information. Find us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter. Sign up for the DOH blog, Public Health Connection