SDMA Weekly COVID Update - 1/20/2021

SDMA Weekly COVID Update - 1/20/2021
Posted on 01/20/2021

Dear SDMA Families and Staff,

It is exciting news that COVID-19 vaccines are now available for Group 1A (health workers) and some people in Group 1B (emergency personnel and people aged 65+). Unfortunately, the school district is still waiting on approval for more teachers and other school district employees to be eligible for Group 1B vaccinations as part of the rapidly changing COVID-19 vaccine rollout plan. Planning continues in the SDMA so that we will be ready as soon as approval is granted. 

COVID-19 data across the state continues to demonstrate better trends. According to the Department of Health Services website, the 7-day averages for new cases (1,807) and percent positivity (7.2%) in Wisconsin are the best they have been since the middle of September. Despite this better data, we continue to manage cases and some local outbreaks that impact our schools. Please continue to avoid gatherings and employ strict mitigation strategies during this critical period of recovery. It shouldn't be long until a number of people in our community are vaccinated and the risk of transmission is expected to drop significantly. A little more sacrifice now might have a big impact on how quickly a recovery could happen in Menomonie. While safely cheering on the Packers this Sunday might be a great idea, attending gatherings with people outside of your household increases transmission risks for everyone in our schools and community.

The federal surge testing program at UW Stout is ending, but anyone with potential COVID-19 symptoms is encouraged to get tested and may want to take advantage of the free testing service supported by the Wisconsin National Guard. 

Dunn County COVID-19 Data Update
The data listed on the Dunn County Dashboard was updated today, and you can see there is now a cumulative total of 3,876 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Dunn County (up from 3,757 in the last week). According to the Dunn County Facebook page, there are currently 153 active cases in Dunn County and 2 people hospitalized due to COVID-19 (down from 165 and 3 last week). The seven-day moving average for new cases in Dunn County is now at 22 cases per day, or 49 cases/100,000 people (down from 25 cases per day or 55 cases/100,000 people last week). 

As can be seen in the cumulative and daily case graphs, the number of new COVID-19 cases in Dunn County has really stabilized over the past few weeks. The updated burden chart demonstrates how the burden level in Dunn County dropped from 2000+ in November to approximately 600 today. The burden level in Dunn County is currently listed as "Very High", and the burden would need to fall below 350 to drop into the next category (burden thresholds were changed not long ago by DHS). 

SDMA Student COVID-19 Data
Some of the newly reported cases over the past weeks have been students enrolled in the SDMA. Since September 1, there is a cumulative reported total of 178 student COVID-19 cases (171 confirmed and 7 probable) in the SDMA [up from 172 (166 confirmed and 6 probable) cases last week] with the following breakdown:

  • Menomonie High School-    90 (up from 88 last week) 
  • Menomonie Middle School- 43  (up from 41 last week)
  • Menomonie Elem. Schools- 43  (up from 41 last week) 
  • Menomonie 4K-   2 (same as 2 last week)

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 2,619 students participating in the in-person instructional model, the SDMA currently has 12 active student cases- 0.46% [down from 15 active cases (0.57%) last week]. The breakdown of active student cases includes:

  • Menomonie High School-     3 (down from 4 last week) 
  • Menomonie Middle School-  3 (same as 3 last week) 
  • Menomonie Elem. Schools-  5 (down from 7 last week) 
  • Menomonie 4K-   1 (same as 1 last week)

Today, 6.72% of the students in the SDMA were excluded from school due to close contacts, symptoms, or other COVID-19 concerns (up from 5.84% last week). The 7-day average for student exclusions across the SDMA is 5.69% (up from 4.94% last week). 

The current breakdown of SDMA student exclusions includes:

  • Menomonie High School-      4.86% (down from 5.09% last week)
  • Menomonie Middle School-   7.13% (up from 5.59% last week)
  • Wakanda Elementary-           13.14%  (up from 8.01% last week)
  • River Heights Elementary-     7.17%  (up from 3.75% last week)
  • Oaklawn Elementary-            4.35%  (down from 4.68% last week)
  • Knapp Elementary-                1.45%  (up from 0.00% last week)
  • Downsville Elementary-         8.11%  (up from 5.41% last week)
  • Menomonie 4K-                     8.28% (down 14.79% last week)

SDMA Staff COVID-19 Data
There have been a total of 55 staff cases in the SDMA since the start of the school year (up from 51 last week), 51 of which have been released from isolation, so there are currently 4 active staff cases in the SDMA (up from 2 last week). Today, 3.89% of the 565 district staff members were excluded from work for COVID-19 reasons (up from 3.19% last week). The 7-day average for staff exclusions across the SDMA is 3.44% (up from 2.43% last week). 

Hopefully the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic is already behind us, but it is critical that we all stay vigilant for a little while longer. Please continue to avoid unnecessary gatherings, Wash Up, Mask Up, and Back Up to reduce the likelihood of needing to quarantine or isolate due to a COVID-19 exposure. Also, if you, or anyone in your family has been exposed to COVID-19 and/or is experiencing possible COVID-19 symptoms, please get tested, stay home, and help stop the spread of COVID-19 in our community.


Joe Zydowsky