VIRGINIA — With more students heading back to school for in-person learning in parts of Virginia, the state Department of Healthlists current and past outbreaks of the virus in schools.
The VDH dashboard feature, called “Outbreaks in School Settings,” shows a list of outbreaks at Virginia schools from kindergarten through 12th grade. No current outbreaks in schools in Northern Virginia were reported by the VDH on Saturday.
In Alexandria, though, Episcopal High School has an outbreak that is “pending closure.” Outbreaks are labeled as “pending closure” if 28 days have passed without a documented new case and the outbreak has not yet been closed in the Virginia Outbreak Surveillance System.
In Loudoun County, Dominion High School had an outbreak that is now listed as “closed.” Outbreaks are labeled as “closed” when two incubation periods of 28 days have passed without onset of new illness and the health district has closed the outbreak in its outbreak surveillance system.
The dashboard will help schools measure the extent to which the coronavirus is spreading in their localities and guide possible responses, according to the VDH.
“Fully re-opening our schools remains a priority as we work to slow the spread of COVID-19. Students have different learning styles, and for some, face-to-face interactions in a classroom are important to achievement,” Virginia State Health Commissioner Norman Oliver said Friday in a statement.
By providing additional information on where outbreaks are occurring, the VDH hopes to offer a broader picture of the impact of the coronavirus and help communities decide where to place resources to prevent and control outbreaks, Oliver said.
“Given the changing nature of the pandemic, we felt providing these data at this time poses no risk to public health investigations or to compromising patient anonymity,” he said.
Only cases associated with outbreaks are displayed and not the total number of cases among students or staff that are unrelated to the outbreak. The dashboard lists public and private schools. Only the outbreaks where transmission occurred at the school or school-sponsored events are included.
Latest COVID-19 Numbers in Virginia
The VDH reported 1,088 new cases of the coronavirus Saturday, bringing the cumulative total to 172,372. The new cases include 374 in the southwest region, 219 in the central region, 196 in the northern region, 153 in the northwest region and 146 in the eastern region.
There have been 3,578 coronavirus deaths to date, which include 39 reported in the last day. Because deaths may be reported on a different day than the one on a death certificate, VDH also tracks death certificate dates. To date, the highest seven-day average of deaths by death certificate date was 40 on May 5. Data may be incomplete for the most recent weeks, but the seven-day average has been less than half of the May 5 peak since June.
Cases of the coronavirus have been increasing steadily over the last four weeks in Lee, Scott and Wise