ODH announces ‘mask to stay’ and ‘test to play’

Staff Report

Here are the latest details on how the COVID-19 pandemic is impacting the area:

• There were 114 new COVID cases reported last week by the Fulton County Health Department. That is down from 126 new cases the previous week.

As of Friday, there were 104 active cases in the county, which is down from 160 the previous Friday.

The week also saw 2 new deaths and 7 new hospitalizations.

Fulton County’s case rate fell to 470 per 100,000 over the previous two weeks but is still higher than the state as a whole. Overall for Ohio, the rate was 359.1.

• Fulton County has had 6,150 overall cases as of Sunday, according to the Ohio Department of Health. There have been 99 deaths reported in the county.

In Lucas County, there have been 57,283 total cases with 936 deaths, according to the health department.

• New quarantine guidance for school was released last week by the Ohio Department of Health.

The proposed changes incorporate mask-wearing and testing to reduce the chance of spread of COVID-19 within structured school settings and provide an alternative to out-of-school quarantine. The options only apply to direct contacts in a school environment – those individuals who are identified as being directly exposed to COVID-19 by a positive case in a classroom or other school setting.

Under the “mask to stay” portion of the guidelines, direct contacts in a school environment, regardless of vaccination or masking status, may remain in the classroom environment if they: Wear a mask for 14 days after their last date of exposure, self-monitor, or parent-monitor, for symptoms of COVID-19, and isolate and get tested if they start to experience symptoms associated with COVID-19 (regardless of level of severity).

Consistent with guidance for others quarantining in lower-risk environments, students and staff may discontinue these quarantine procedures after seven days if they don’t develop symptoms and they test negative between days 5-7.

While parents and students are responsible for symptom monitoring, if school staff or school nurses see a child exhibiting symptoms they should act accordingly.

Under “test to play” asymptomatic contacts in a school environment may continue to participate in extracurricular activities if they: wear a mask when able, test on initial notification of exposure to COVID-19, and test again between days 5-7 following exposure to COVID-19. If they are negative at this time, they will test out of quarantine after day 7 and can resume normal activities.

School districts are also encouraged to consider same-day testing for athletic competitions where there is the potential of school-to-school exposure.

Those who are fully vaccinated, as well as those who consistently wear masks in school, can already remain in the classroom if exposed to COVID-19 in a school setting.

• In Fulton County, 20,030 people, or 47.55% of residents, have at least started the COVID-19 vaccine as of Sunday.

• COVID-19 vaccine is available Mondays at the Fulton County Health Department. It is also available at the Rite Aid locations in Archbold, Swanton, and Wauseon, the Swanton Kroger, and Wauseon Walmart.

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Staff Report