Note: This story was last updated at 2:55 p.m.
A staff member at Glenwood Elementary School in Oak Ridge has tested positive for COVID-19. The case was reported to have been mild, and the employee has recovered, according to a letter sent to school staff members on Wednesday.
Staff members at the school were notified of the diagnosis on Wednesday morning.
“The individual reported having felt ill at the beginning of spring break, more than 14 days ago, and now reports to have completely recovered after a mild case of the virus,” the letter to staff said. “We have been told that the positive test results were actually reported to our colleague after recovery. We are unaware of anyone else who had contact with this staff member prior to diagnosis who has also shown symptoms by the time of this writing.”
The letter to staff was sent by Oak Ridge Schools Superintendent Bruce Borchers. He said the building maintenance staff has thoroughly cleaned the Glenwood Elementary School building as well as every other school and facility in the Oak Ridge system.
“Experts advise that the COVID-19 virus survives on surfaces for fewer than five days, and our district personnel have been stringently cleaning all Oak Ridge facilities during our 14-day spring break,” Borchers said. “As you probably know, we have all been advised by the CDC that symptoms arise between two and 14 days after exposure, and this individual has not been in the school for more than 14 days.”
In addition, Borchers said, Oak Ridge Schools have been following, and will continue to follow, proper protocol for the situation, including:
- confirming this case with the Anderson County Health Department,
- communicating possible COVID-19 exposure to the school community, and
- protecting the identity of the affected person.
The school system reminded staff members that Tennessee Governor Bill Lee with his “safer at home” order is “urging people to stay home and stay apart. We need you to do that, to protect the lives of your neighbors, and to protect the lives of our citizens…we need you to stay home where at all possible.”
“It is our hope that you and your loved ones are healthy and safe,” Borchers said.
COVID-19 is a contagious respiratory illness that can lead to a range of symptoms from no symptoms to mild or moderate symptoms to severe symptoms and hospitalization—and in some cases, death. Symptoms include fever, cough, and shortness of breath. The virus was first reported in China in December. Since then, it has spread around the world, infecting more than 880,000 and killing more than 44,000. In the United States, it has infected more than 190,000 people and killed more than 4,300.
As of Tuesday afternoon, about 7.8 percent of Tennessee’s patients had been hospitalized (175 hospitalizations out of 2,239 cases), according to totals published by the Tennessee Department of Health each afternoon. About 1 percent of patients had died (23 deaths out of 2,239 cases).
In Tennessee, 121 patients have recovered, the state health department said Tuesday.
Schools in Tennessee have closed to students through at least April 24, although there are expected to be some type of online learning or lesson plans available for students stuck at home as the world battles the global pandemic.
More information will be added as it becomes available.
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