SDMA Weekly COVID Update - 3/10/2021

SDMA Weekly COVID Update - 3/10/2021
Posted on 03/10/2021

Dear SDMA Families and Staff,

According to the Department of Health Services website, the 7-day averages in Wisconsin for new cases (388 today-down from 545 last week) and percent positivity (2.1% today-down from 2.4% last week) are the best they have been since last summer. Local vaccination efforts are ongoing, so please continue with mitigation strategies for a little while longer during this critical period of recovery. According to recommendations released this week by the CDC, some restrictions can be relaxed for fully vaccinated people two weeks after receiving the final dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. Most SDMA staff members will reach this level of immunity by the middle of April.

With case counts generally lower in Dunn County, it is much more feasible for test and trace programs to effectively control COVID-19 spread in our community. This could be a great opportunity for us to really minimize disease activity and get back to a more "normal" way of living in Menomonie. Anyone with potential COVID-19 symptoms is encouraged to get tested and may want to take advantage of the free surge testing program at UW Stout, but please do not send your children to school if you are awaiting the results of a COVID-19 test. Please note that UW Stout is now offering an exclusive PCR test option for K-12 students enrolled in face-to-face instruction, and results have been typically coming back within 24-28 hours. Since it requires two negative antigen tests from two different companies to be cleared from quarantine, parents are encouraged to ask for a PCR test if utilizing surge testing at UW Stout.

Dunn County COVID-19 Data Update
The data listed on the Dunn County Dashboard was updated today, and you can see that there is now a cumulative total of 4,286 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Dunn County (up from 4,276 last week). According to the Dunn County Facebook page (Monday's update is the most recent), there are currently 40 active cases in Dunn County and 1 person hospitalized due to COVID-19 (48 and 2 last week). The seven-day moving average for new cases in Dunn County is at 5.6 cases per day, or 12.3 cases/100,000 people (up from 5 cases per day or 11 cases/100,000 people last week). Two doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been administered to 2,958 Dunn County residents- 6.5% of the county population (up from 2,676/5.9% last week). 

As can be seen in the cumulative and daily case graphs, the number of new COVID-19 cases in Dunn County has continued to stabilize over the past several weeks. The updated burden chart demonstrates how the burden (# of new cases in two weeks/100,000 people) in Dunn County is now at 94 (down from 154 last week). The burden level in Dunn County dropped again this week to the "Moderately High" level with a shrinking trajectory. According to KT Gallagher of the Dunn County Health Department, some local COVID-19 restrictions might begin to be lifted now that Dunn County has a percent positivity of less and 5% and a disease activity level that has dropped into the "Medium" level, which is determined by the Burden and Trajectory of COVID-19 cases.

SDMA Student COVID-19 Data
Some of the newly reported confirmed COVID-19 cases in Dunn County over the past week have been students enrolled in the SDMA. Since September 1, there is a cumulative reported total of 212 student COVID-19 cases (203 confirmed and 9 probable) in the SDMA [up from 205 (196 confirmed and 9 probable) cases last week] with the following breakdown:

  • Menomonie High School-   104 (up from 103 last week) 
  • Menomonie Middle School- 57  (up from 54 last week)
  • Menomonie Elem. Schools- 47  (same as 45 last week) 
  • Menomonie 4K-   4 (up from 3 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 2,833 students participating in the in-person instructional model for the second semester, the SDMA currently has 6 active student cases- 0.21% [up from 3 active cases (0.11%) last week]. The breakdown of active student cases includes:

  • Menomonie High School-     1 (down from 2 last week) 
  • Menomonie Middle School-  3 (up from 1 last week) 
  • Menomonie Elem. Schools-  1 (up from 0 last week) 
  • Menomonie 4K-                     1 (up from 0 last week)

Today, 2.29% of the students in the SDMA were excluded from school due to close contacts, symptoms, or other COVID-19 concerns (up from 2.08% last week). The 7-day average for student exclusions across the SDMA is 2.24% (down from 3.77% last week). 

The current breakdown of SDMA student exclusions includes:

  • Menomonie High School-      1.64% (down from 1.86% last week)
  • Menomonie Middle School-   3.45% (up from 2.93% last week)
  • Wakanda Elementary-           1.17%  (up from 0.58% last week)
  • River Heights Elementary-     1.70%  (up from 0.88% last week)
  • Oaklawn Elementary-            0.32%  (down as 0.63% last week)
  • Knapp Elementary-                2.44%  (up from 1.22% last week)
  • Downsville Elementary-         0.00%  (same as 0.00% last week)
  • Menomonie 4K*-                    10.30%  (same as 10.30% last week)
    *Due to the nature of 4K programming, one case can lead to a high number of exclusions, and an abbreviated quarantine is not an option for this age group.

SDMA Staff COVID-19 Data
There has not been a reported case of COVID-19 by SDMA staff in over a month. A total of 57 staff cases in the SDMA have been reported since the start of the school year, all of which have been released from isolation. Today, 0.53% of the 565 district staff members were excluded from work for COVID-19 reasons (down from 0.71% last week). The 7-day average for staff exclusions across the SDMA is 0.71% (down from 0.99% last week). 

Spring Break Travel Info (There will be no SDMA COVID-19 Update next week)
With spring break approaching (March 13-March 21), the school district continues to field questions about student and staff travel. While travel is not recommended by the health department, the SDMA is not requiring a mandatory quarantine period upon return (unless considered a close contact or experiencing COVID-19 symptoms). Please refer to the newly created SDMA Guidance for Domestic and International Travel for more information.  

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