Editor’s note: With our coronavirus coverage, our goal is not to alarm you but to equip you with the information you need. We will try to keep things in context and focus on helping you make decisions. See a list of resources and frequently asked questions at the end of this story.
MILFORD, Ohio - The Milford Schools superintendent says two schoolkids and one of their parents self-quarantined in their home after possible contact with COVID-19 this week, but the situation did not warrant closing the two schools the children attend.
That is the gist of a letter sent to Milford parents and guardians Tuesday and signed by Superintendent Nancy House.
The parent, who works in the medical field, came into contact with a person being tested for COVID-19, the letter said. The parent had no contact with the schoolkids until they met at home that night, and they self-quarantined there before they could have outside contact with other students or staff.
The two children attend Pattison Elementary and Milford High School, the letter said.
“This contact with the patient happened while the parent was at work yesterday and the children were not in contact with the parent until after school last evening,” the letter said. “Based on this timeline, the self quarantine occurred prior to any exposure outside of the home. We have confirmed there has not been any exposure with our students and staff based on this occurrence. Therefore, we will not close Pattison Elementary nor the High School.
“It is important to note that this patient has not been confirmed to have COVID-19,” the letter said.
A day earlier, Superintendent House sent a letter detailing steps the school district is taking to safeguard students and staff against coronavirus.
“To reemphasize the information I sent yesterday afternoon, the district is not remaining idle as this situation with the spread of COVID-19 unfolds nationwide, especially as it has become more worrisome now that cases are in our state and patients are being tested locally,” House said.
“We will be prepared if the virus spreads into our community and impacts our school district. To date, there have been no confirmed cases in our community.
House said Milford Schools is in “constant contact with the Clermont County Public Health Department and the Ohio Department of Education about COVID-19 and how we can best prevent its spread.”
Specific steps the district is taking include:
• Custodians using a hospital-grade disinfectant cleaner called Virex to clean nightly.
• Instructing students to wash their hands regularly using warm water and soap for a minimum of 20 seconds.
• Asking parents to keep sick child at home.
• Suspending awards for perfect attendance. “We believe strongly that the health of your child and our school district is more important than an award for perfect attendance,” House said in the first letter.
“We will have a plan in place if the need arises, but our first priority will be to keep kids in school and learning,” the letter said.
Find more coronavirus/COVID-19 hotlines and resources below:
- Department of Health COVID-19 hotline: 833-4-ASK-ODH
- See ODH’s COVID-19 resources here.
- State COVID-19 hotline: 1-800-722-5725
- See the Cabinet for Health and Family Services coronavirus resource site here.
- SDH Epidemiology Resource Center: (317) 233-7125 or (317) 233-1325 after hours, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
- See more information for coronavirus in Indiana here.
What is coronavirus, COVID-19?
According to the World Health Organization, coronaviruses are "a large family of viruses that cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV).
A novel coronavirus, such as COVID-19, is a new strain that has not been previously identified in humans.
COVID-19 was first identified in December 2019 in Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China and has now been detected in 37 locations across the globe, including in the U.S., according to the CDC.
The CDC reports the initial patients in China have some link to a large seafood and live animal market, indicative of animal-to-person spread. A growing number of patients, however, did not report exposure to animal markets, indicating the disease is spreading person-to-person.
What are the symptoms? How does it spread?
Confirmed cases of COVID-19 have ranged from mild symptoms to severe illness and death, according to the CDC. Symptoms can include fever, cough, shortness of breath.
The CDC said symptoms could appear in as few as two days or as long as 14 days after exposure. It is similar to the incubation period for MERS.
Spread of the virus is thought to be mainly from person-to-person. Spread is between people who are in close contact with one another (within about six feet). Spread occurs via respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. The droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs.
According to the CDC, it could be possible for a person to get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose or possibly their eyes. This is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads, the CDC said.
The disease is most contagious when people are the sickest and showing the most symptoms.