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Staff at North Stafford High School tests positive for coronavirus

The school is closed through April 13.

STAFFORD COUNTY, Va. — Stafford County Public Schools announced the first positive case of coronavirus in the school district Thursday. A staff member of North Stafford High School tested positive for COVID-19. 

A letter sent to families and staff from the school's principal Daniel Hornick said the building has been disinfected, and that the "overall risk of exposure to students and staff in the facility is low." 

"North Stafford High School will continue to be closed until April 13, 2020, out of precaution," Hornick said. "The building has been disinfected since the exposure occurred as part of our county cleaning process during Spring Break.

Hornick said that the patient started feeling ill on March 11, and that the Rappahannock Area Health District is conducting a contact investigation for all individuals who may have been exposed. 

Currently, Virginia has 94 positive cases of coronavirus, including two cases in Stafford County. 

RELATED: VA coronavirus update: Gov. Northam discusses inmate incarceration health, small business plans and childcare efforts

See the full letter below: 

Dear North Nation Families and Staff:

We have been informed that a staff member of North Stafford High School has tested positive for COVID-19 (Novel Coronavirus Disease 2019). The virus that causes COVID-19 is a novel coronavirus that was first identified in Wuhan, China in late December. North Stafford High School will continue to be closed until April 13, 2020, out of precaution. The building has been disinfected since the exposure occurred as part of our county cleaning process during Spring Break.

Although there was a confirmed case of COVID-19 detected at North Stafford High School, the overall risk of exposure to students and staff in the facility is low. It is impossible to definitively determine where and when the virus was contracted, but the individual started feeling ill on Wednesday, March 11. In consideration of personal privacy, we are unable to provide any more detailed information. The Rappahannock Area Health District is conducting a contact investigation for all individuals that are laboratory confirmed for COVID-19 and will identify and contact all individuals that may have been exposed. For most staff and students at the North Stafford High School, the risk of exposure to COVID-19 is extremely low.

The COVID-19 virus is thought to spread mainly between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet) through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. It also may be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.

We encourage anyone who is concerned that they have symptoms of the virus to consult with their physician and to stay home and away from other people until you can see your physician. Symptoms of COVID-19 include fever, cough, and sore throat. Some people may experience all of these symptoms, while others may only experience one or two symptoms.

Risk of infection from the virus that causes COVID-19 is higher for people who are close contacts of someone known to have COVID-19; for example, healthcare workers or household members. Other people at higher risk for infection are those who live in or have recently been in an area with ongoing spread of COVID-19. Please take the following steps to monitor your health and prevent the spread of COVID-19:

  • Avoid close contact (about 6 feet or 2 meters) with people who are sick or people who are at a higher risk of developing severe disease (e.g., older adults and people who have severe chronic medical conditions
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing. If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Stay home if you feel sick and take these appropriate measures:
  • Separate yourself from other people and animals in your home. As much as possible, you should stay in a specific room and away from other people in your home. Also, you should use a separate bathroom, if available.
  • Wear a facemask when you are around other people (e.g., sharing a room or vehicle) or pets and before you enter a healthcare provider’s office.
  • Call ahead before visiting your doctor. This will help the healthcare provider’s office take important steps to keep other people from getting infected or exposed.
  • If you have a medical emergency, call 911 and tell the operator about your recent possible COVID-19 exposure.
  • Cover your coughs or sneezes with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces (e.g., tables, countertops, light switches, doorknobs, and cabinet handles) using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.

Please contact your local health department at (540) 899-4797 and ask to speak to a public health nurse if you have questions or need additional information. You can also find pertinent details on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s website or the Virginia Department of Health’s website. The attached fact sheet has additional information on COVID-19 that may also be helpful to you. Thank you for your continued support.

Sincerely,

Principal Daniel P. Hornick

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