SDMA Weekly COVID Update - 10/21/2020

SDMA Weekly COVID Update - 10/21/2020
Posted on 10/21/2020

Hello SDMA Families and Staff.

The data listed on the Dunn County Dashboard was updated today, and you can see that there is now a cumulative total of 900 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Dunn County (up from 791 last week) and 10,615 negative test results (up from 9,174 last week). The 7-day moving average for Dunn County is now at 11.6 cases per day, or 25.5 per day/100,000 people (down from 14.3 cases per day or 31.5 cases per day/100,000 people last week).

In looking at graphs of the cumulative and daily COVID-19 data broken down by age, it can be seen that the number of new Dunn County cases appear to be leveling off a bit, but new cases are still being seen across nearly all age demographics. 

Some of the new cases this past week in the 10-19 age range have been students enrolled in the SDMA (6 new cases). There is now a cumulative total of 26 confirmed cases (up from 20 last week) of COVID-19 reported in our students since September 1 with the following breakdown:

  • Menomonie High School-   18 (up from 14 last week)
  • Menomonie Middle School- 5  (same as 5)
  • Menomonie Elem. Schools- 3  (up from 1)

Many of the student COVID-19 cases in the SDMA have already been deemed "recovered", and a number of students have been released from the mandatory isolation period. With 2,827 students participating in the in-person instructional model, the SDMA currently has a total of 6 active student cases- 0.21% (which is the same as last week) with the following breakdown:

  • Menomonie High School-    4 (up from 2 last week) 
  • Menomonie Middle School- 0 (down from 2) 
  • Menomonie Elem. Schools- 2 (same as 2) *there is no longer a "probable" case 

There have been a total of 5 staff cases in the SDMA since the start of the school year (up from 4 last week), 4 of which have been deemed "recovered", so there is currently 1 active staff case in the SDMA.

With one of the new student cases occurring on a MHS athletic team, the number of student exclusions in the SDMA inched up a bit over the past week. Today, 4.32% of the students in the SDMA were excluded from school due to close contacts, symptoms, or other COVID-19 concerns (up from 3.61% last week). The seven day average for student exclusions in the SDMA is 3.97%.

The current breakdown of SDMA student exclusions includes:

  • Menomonie High School-     6.69% (up from 3.74% reported last week)
  • Menomonie Middle School-  3.47% (down from 3.92%)
  • Wakanda Elementary-          3.74% (down from 4.04%)
  • River Heights Elementary-    4.53% (down from 4.83%)
  • Oaklawn Elementary-           1.59% (same as last week)
  • Knapp Elementary-               2.70% (down from 5.41%)
  • Downsville Elementary-        1.32% (same as last week)
  • Menomonie 4K-                    3.01% (up from 2.41%)

While school district data suggests that mitigation efforts have been effective within our classrooms, the number of cases and exposures from outside of our schools is very concerning. Some of the recent increase in new cases might be explained by higher testing rates in Dunn County, but every case and exposure from outside of our schools provides a significant risk to the safe in-person opportunities and programs that the SDMA is able to provide for our students.

There is no doubt that everyone is experiencing a lot of fatigue in dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic, but now is NOT the time to let down our guard. A number of experts are concerned about the potential for increased spread of COVID-19 as the weather turns colder and people spend more time inside. Additionally, an increased number of hospitalizations in the region have really begun to tax the healthcare system, so the Mayo Clinic Health System has responded by sharing this video related to the recent surge in regional cases.

School mitigation efforts of cohorting groups, Washing Up, Backing Up, and Masking Up have proved effective in stopping the spread in SDMA classrooms. It has also helped that SDMA families continue to do a great job following school guidelines for checking symptoms and following quarantine protocols for outside of school exposures. 

As we move forward into the fall and approach Halloween and Thanksgiving, please consider keeping your family circles small and following stricter mitigation measures for any activities that might involve people outside of your immediate household. A little extra effort now could pay big dividends in our community's ability to mitigate the potential for problems with COVID-19 over the next few weeks.

Thank you.

Joe Zydowsky