SDMA Weekly COVID Update - 2/24/2021

SDMA Weekly COVID Update - 2/24/2021
Posted on 02/25/2021

Dear SDMA Families and Staff,

Before getting into this week's COVID-19 update, please review the Youth Suicide Prevention Resources provided by the Department of Public Instruction. School counselors are available at each SDMA school, so please do not hesitate to reach out if the school district can be of any assistance in supporting your child.

According to the Department of Health Services website, the 7-day averages in Wisconsin for new cases (617 today-down from 731 last week) and percent positivity (2.8% today-down from 3.1% last week) are the best they have been since the beginning of the school year. Despite this better data, some of the COVID-19 data averages have demonstrated the potential to tick up slightly over the past couple days. Vaccination efforts are just starting to ramp up and there are still concerns about the spread of new COVID-19 variants, so please continue to avoid gatherings and employ strict mitigation strategies during this critical period of recovery. 

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 or the free testing program 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 that there is now a cumulative total of 4,244 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Dunn County (up from 4,204 last week). According to the Dunn County Facebook page, there are currently 60 active cases in Dunn County and 2 people hospitalized due to COVID-19 (80 and 6 last week). The seven-day moving average for new cases in Dunn County is now at 5 cases per day, or 11 cases/100,000 people (down from 8 cases per day or 19 cases/100,000 people last week). 

Two doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been administered to 2,238 Dunn County residents- 4.4% of the county population (1,408 / 3.1% last week). SDMA employees in Group 1B are scheduled to begin receiving the COVID-19 vaccine on March 1.

As can be seen in the cumulative and daily case graphs, the number of new COVID-19 cases in Dunn County has continued to drop over the past several weeks. The updated burden chart demonstrates how the burden level in Dunn County dropped from 2000+ in November to 206 today. The burden level in Dunn County (# of new cases in two weeks/100,000 people) has dropped from "Very High" to "High", and the burden would need to fall below 100 to drop into the "Moderately High" category. 

SDMA Student COVID-19 Data
Five of the newly reported 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 202 student COVID-19 cases (194 confirmed and 8 probable) in the SDMA [up from 197 (189 confirmed and 8 probable) cases last week] with the following breakdown:

  • Menomonie High School-   101 (up from 100 last week) 
  • Menomonie Middle School- 53  (up from 50 last week)
  • Menomonie Elem. Schools- 45  (same as 44 last week) 
  • Menomonie 4K-   3 (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 5 active student cases- 0.18% [up from 3 active cases (0.11%) last week]. The breakdown of active student cases includes:

  • Menomonie High School-     1 (same as 1 last week) 
  • Menomonie Middle School-  2 +1 virtual student* (up from 1 last week) 
  • Menomonie Elem. Schools-  1 (up from 0 last week) 
  • Menomonie 4K-                     0 (down from 1 last week)
    *When virtual student cases are reported to the SDMA, the district still counts them in school totals due to extra-curricular participation, etc.

Today, 4.77% of the students in the SDMA were excluded from school due to close contacts, symptoms, or other COVID-19 concerns (up from 4.09% last week). The 7-day average for student exclusions across the SDMA is 4.37% (up from 3.23% last week). 

The current breakdown of SDMA student exclusions includes:

  • Menomonie High School-      2.74% (up from 2.19% last week)
  • Menomonie Middle School-   5.52% (up from 3.28% last week)
  • Wakanda Elementary-           1.17%  (down from 1.46% last week)
  • River Heights Elementary-     2.83%  (down from 3.97% last week)
  • Oaklawn Elementary-            0.63%  (up from 0.32% last week)
  • Knapp Elementary-                8.54%  (up from 6.10% last week)
  • Downsville Elementary-         1.23%  (up from 0.00% last week)
  • Menomonie 4K*-                    32.73%  (up from 31.52% last week)
    *Due to the nature of 4K programming, one case can lead to a high number of exclusions.

SDMA Staff COVID-19 Data
There have been a total of 57 staff cases in the SDMA since the start of the school year (same as 57 last week), all of which have been released from isolation. There are currently 0 active staff cases in the SDMA (down from 1 last week). Today, 0.88% of the 565 district staff members were excluded from work for COVID-19 reasons (down from 1.06% last week). The 7-day average for staff exclusions across the SDMA is 1.09% (same as 1.09% last week). 

Spring Break Travel Info
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