SDMA Weekly COVID Update - 12/2/2020

SDMA Weekly COVID Update - 12/2/2020
Posted on 12/02/2020

Hello SDMA Families and Staff.

*With no SDMA COVID Update last week, the comparison data below labeled as "last week" is actually data from the report shared on Wednesday, November 18.

The data listed on the Dunn County Dashboard was updated today, and you can see there is now a cumulative total of 2,863 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Dunn County (up from 2,161 last week). According to the Dunn County Facebook page, there are currently 580 active cases in Dunn County and 18 people hospitalized due to COVID-19 (compared to 553 and 27 last week). The seven-day moving average for new cases in Dunn County is now at 55 cases per day, or 121 cases/100,000 people (down from 67 cases per day or 148 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 stabilized a bit over the past week. Hopefully this is an indication of successful efforts to "flatten the curve", but we will be watching these numbers closely as some experts are predicting a major spike in cases following the Thanksgiving holiday. The case burden in Dunn County has dropped from 2,046 on November 25 to 1,568 today.

Some of the new cases this past week have been students enrolled in the SDMA. Since September 1, there is now a cumulative reported total of 120 confirmed student cases (up from 101 last week) of COVID-19 with the following breakdown:

  • Menomonie High School-    64 (up from 55 last week)
  • Menomonie Middle School- 34  (up from 29)
  • Menomonie Elem. Schools- 21  (up from 16)
  • Menomonie 4K-   1 (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 1,735 students now participating in the in-person instructional model, the SDMA currently has 3 active student cases- 0.17% [down from 10 (0.53%) last week with enrollment that included MHS] with the following breakdown:

  • Menomonie High School-     3 (up from 1 last week) 
  • Menomonie Middle School-  0 (down from 7 last week) 
  • Menomonie Elem. Schools-  0 (down from 2 last week)

There have been a total of 43 staff cases in the SDMA since the start of the school year (up from 42 last week), 42 of which have been released from isolation, so there is currently 1 active staff case in the SDMA (down from 9 last week). Today, approximately 2.5% of the 565 district staff members were excluded from work for COVID-19 reasons (down from 7% last week). Since the decision in November to move instruction at MHS to virtual learning was primarily due to staffing issues across the school district, it is looking like it might be possible to reopen MHS on December 14 if these better staffing numbers continue into next week.

Today, 4.73% of the students in the SDMA were excluded from school due to close contacts, symptoms, or other COVID-19 concerns (down from 10.75% last week). This total does not factor in any of the students not receiving in-person instruction.

The current breakdown of SDMA student exclusions includes:

  • Menomonie Middle School-  5.01% (down from 19.41% last week)
  • Wakanda Elementary-          5.45%  (down from 16.57% last week)
  • River Heights Elementary-    6.83% (down from 12.35% last week)
  • Oaklawn Elementary-           3.34%  (down from 8.01% last week)
  • Knapp Elementary-               0.00%  (down from 12.00% last week)
  • Downsville Elementary-        5.41%  (down from 14.81% last week)
  • Menomonie 4K-                    2.96%  (down from 25.44% last week)

These student exclusion numbers are also encouraging. It has already been shared that the health department might close a school if 20% of students are excluded for a sustained period of time, but none of the SDMA schools are close to that threshold. It is our intent to keep our schools open if possible, and the current trend of decreasing student cases and close contact exposures will make the prospect of keeping our schools open much more likely.

Even though this snapshot shows some encouraging data, now is not the time to relax strict mitigation measures. It is very possible that exposures from Thanksgiving and deer hunting have not yet surfaced. Avoiding unnecessary gatherings, washing up, masking up, and backing up is still extremely important for reducing the likelihood of needing to quarantine or isolate due to a COVID-19 exposure. 

Thank you.

Joe Zydowsky