SDMA Weekly COVID Update - 1/13/2021

SDMA Weekly COVID Update - 1/13/2021
Posted on 01/13/2021

Dear SDMA Families and Staff,

Before getting into this week's COVID Update, here is another link to the district calendar for the 2020-2021 school year. Please note that there is no school on Monday, January 18, as it is a professional development day for SDMA staff. UW Stout announced that spring break is cancelled at the university this year, but there have been no corresponding changes to the calendar for the SDMA. Spring break is still scheduled in the SDMA from March 13-March 21, 2021.

After some slight COVID activity fluctuations around the holidays, it appears that local and state trends might be on the verge of leveling out again. The higher level of community activity with the holidays still puts our community at an increased risk for a post-holiday spike if people aren't careful. A few recent examples of asymptomatic cases in younger children, and cases with some very mild symptoms, have led to a slight uptick in student and staff exclusions this past week. Anyone with potential COVID-19 symptoms is encouraged to get tested and may want to take advantage of free surge testing being offered at UW Stout or 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 3,757 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Dunn County (up from 3,634 in the last week). According to the Dunn County Facebook page, there are currently 165 active cases in Dunn County and 3 people hospitalized due to COVID-19 (down from 190 and 4 last week). The seven-day moving average for new cases in Dunn County is now at 25 cases per day, or 55 cases/100,000 people (up from 21 cases per day or 46 cases/100,000 people last week). 

Updated charts are not available this week, but the burden level in Dunn County dropped from 605 last week to 601 today. The burden level in Dunn County is still listed as "Very High", and the burden would need to fall below 500 to drop into the next category.

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 172 student COVID-19 cases (166 confirmed and 6 probable) in the SDMA [up from 163 (157 confirmed and 6 probable) cases last week] with the following breakdown:

  • Menomonie High School-    88 (up from 87 last week) 
  • Menomonie Middle School- 41  (up from 39 last week)
  • Menomonie Elem. Schools- 41  (up from 36 last week) 
  • Menomonie 4K-   2 (up from 1 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 15 active student cases- 0.57% [down from 16 active cases (0.61%) last week]. The breakdown of active student cases includes:

  • Menomonie High School-     4 (down from 9 last week) *1 confirmed and 3 probable 
  • Menomonie Middle School-  3 (same as 3 last week) *2 confirmed and 1 probable 
  • Menomonie Elem. Schools-  7 (up from 4 last week) *6 confirmed and 1 probable
  • Menomonie 4K-   1 (up from 0 last week)

Today, 5.84% of the students in the SDMA were excluded from school due to close contacts, symptoms, or other COVID-19 concerns (up from 5.15% last week). The 7-day average for student exclusions across the SDMA is 4.94% (up from 3.95% last week). 

The current breakdown of SDMA student exclusions includes:

  • Menomonie High School-      5.09% (same as 5.09% last week)
  • Menomonie Middle School-   5.59% (up from 4.43% last week)
  • Wakanda Elementary-           8.01%  (up from 3.53% last week)
  • River Heights Elementary-    3.75%  (up from 3.41% last week)
  • Oaklawn Elementary-            4.68%  (down from 5.02% last week)
  • Knapp Elementary-                0.00%  (same as 0.00% last week)
  • Downsville Elementary-         5.41%  (down from 8.11% last week)
  • Menomonie 4K-                    14.79% (same as 14.79% last week)

SDMA Staff COVID-19 Data
There have been a total of 51 staff cases in the SDMA since the start of the school year (same as 51 last week), 49 of which have been released from isolation, so there are currently 2 active staff cases in the SDMA (down from 5 on the last week). Today, 3.19% of the 565 district staff members were excluded from work for COVID-19 reasons (up from 1.95% last week). The 7-day average for staff exclusions across the SDMA is 2.43% (up from 2.30% last week). 

Thankfully, there might be some light at the end of this enormously long COVID-19 tunnel. Vaccines are being administered to people from our local community, and 70 SDMA staff members recently qualified for Group 1A. With some of these staff members receiving the first dose of the vaccination this week, and others in the community having already received both doses, the health department is anticipating that both positive cases and exclusions will begin to drop as the number of immunizations increases. 

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