OHS student positive for COVID-19, 13 in quarantine

By Dave Marner, Managing Editor
Posted 9/9/20

Owensville High School’s Dutchmen football team won its home-opening game Friday, 47-0 over Eldon, to enter the Labor Day weekend and the first scheduled day off of classes Monday.

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OHS student positive for COVID-19, 13 in quarantine

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Owensville High School’s Dutchmen football team won its home-opening game Friday, 47-0 over Eldon, to enter the Labor Day weekend and the first scheduled day off of classes Monday.

After classes resumed Tuesday, school administrators announced a high school student had tested positive for COVID-19. Thirteen additional students have been asked by county health officials to go into quarantine.

Superintendent Dr. Chuck Garner announced the confirmed case of the coronavirus in a text issued early Tuesday afternoon to district parents and guardians.

“We have been notified a student at our Owensville High School Campus has tested positive for COVID-19,” the message from the Gasconade County R-2 School District begins. “The student last attended school on Thursday, September 3, 2020, and was not showing any COVID-19 like symptoms. All students and staff who had close contact with the student have been contacted by either the district or health department. Working with the health department, through contact tracing, an additional 13 students will be asked to quarantine by the health department in conjunction with this case.”

The announcement follows one made late Friday afternoon from Greg Lara, administrator of the Gasconade County Health Department, who informed county residents through the media and social media that state health department personnel were being asked to help with contract tracing due to the recent increase in COVID-19 positive cases.

Lara said the county’s health agency had requested manpower assistance from the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) to help with the tracing effort.

Lara, who noted the county’s infection rate has seen a “sharp increase” in recent weeks, especially in at least two nursing facilities, the return to schools by the county’s two public systems has also apparently sparked the higher numbers.

“We are also seeing some positive cases in our schools and are working closely with the school administration officials to work through all of this,” Lara stated in his release issued Friday afternoon. “The schools are working diligently to maintain distancing as much as possible however in many cases it is very difficult to accomplish this.”

He noted schools are following the national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the state DHSS guidelines on close contact which is defined as “someone that has been in close proximity of a confirmed positive case — 6 feet or less — for 15 minutes or more.

As of Friday, DHSS personnel will be helping investigate Gasconade County infections from COVID-19 and a call about a possible close contact “may” come the state agency.

“Due to the high volume of contact tracing we are getting with these cases it has been very difficult to accomplish these notifications in a timely manner with our limited staff,” Lara’s message reads. “We have reached out the Missouri DHSS and they are going to be providing us with some assistance in performing contact tracing. We just wanted to let everyone be aware of this as instead of getting a call from someone in our office you may get a call from a DHSS representative. We are anticipating this would help to make this process more efficient and get the notifications out timelier.”

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