School, public health officials say in-school COVID-19 transmissions remain low across Virginia

Coronavirus

PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) — After two child deaths from COVID-19 in Hampton Roads this week, public health officials want to assure parents COVID-19 transmission in schools remains low throughout the Commonwealth.

Earlier this week, Virginia State Vaccination Coordinator Dr. Danny Avula spoke at a press conference with Gov. Ralph Northam and shared data seen throughout the state.

He told 10 On Your Side on Friday schools with strict mitigation policies have fairly low rates of in-school transmission.

“If schools are doing all of these things that we’re talking about. If they’re doing mask wearing and they’re doing symptom screening and vaccination and cohorting of students, then the actual transmission that takes place in schools is incredibly low,” he said.

Here in Hampton Roads, the most cases in the last month are in Virginia Beach with 493 cases, Chesapeake with 294 cases, Newport News with 252 cases, and Norfolk with 227 cases.

Still, public health officials say these numbers are relatively low compared to the amount of community spread going on in each city.

10 On Your Side reported earlier this week how Chesapeake Public Schools will change one of their coronavirus protocols.

CPS is amending their quarantine length from 14 days to 10 days with a negative test result.

This comes as medical staff from Children’s Hospital of The King’s Daughters in Norfolk are issuing new warnings and guidelines for parents, reminding them to take every case seriously because the virus is so unpredictable.

“These heartbreaking losses remind us that COVID is an unpredictable illness and can be life-threatening in rare circumstances,” said CHKD Chief Medical Officer Dr. Chris Foley.

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Their biggest request of parents; trust your gut if your child develops symptoms.

“When my kid gets the sniffles, I should keep them home until I can get them tested and make sure that they’re negative before sending them into school. And that’s a behavior change that we’re all going to have to commit to,” said Avula.

View a district-by-district coronavirus dashboard here.

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