In response to We Act Radio’s query regarding the eleven COVID-19 cases in Ward 8 schools in the last ten days, DC Health sent an email statement. The response does not mention DC Public Schools or Ward 8 or any of the specific questions asked:

DC Health performs case investigation and contact tracing on all reported COVID-19 cases in DC residents, and epidemiologic investigations of clusters identified in the District. After completing the investigations, and based on the circumstances of the incident, DC Health will provide public health recommendations to mitigate further spread within that specific setting. Any setting may choose to enforce more stringent measures than what is recommended. DC Health does not release identifying information or details of case or cluster investigations.   

In any setting, an individual case is counted as part of an outbreak if the individual was physically present during their infectious period. An outbreak is defined as two or more cases within a 14-day period. DC Health public health recommendations are designed to mitigate further spread, which could impact that setting and the community. The public health recommendations for preventive measures at the individual-level, such as vaccination, social distancing, and wearing a mask, and at the facility-level, such as capacity limits and activity restrictions, are designed to prevent spread within the community should there be outbreaks at any setting, private or public.

— DC Health via email, 4/28/21 afternoon

Incomplete or Inconsistent?

The information shared above does not match how DCPS defines an outbreak. The DCPS Data Guide reads:

“A school outbreak is defined as two or more laboratory-confirmed cases of COVID-19 which have a plausible epidemiological link.”

Above the explanation is curtailed, including nothing about patient proximity or epidemiological link, just “two or more cases within a 14-day period.” There’s not enough context to determine if this is some kind of typo or an actual difference in definition.

The statement concludes as follows: “Data on cases rates in DC, and from schools, are available at [DC Gov coronavirus site].” The link shared was incorrect, and the correct site — https://coronavirus.dc.gov/data/school, linked numerous times from this blog — does not show information beyond April 21. Perhaps next week it will show any outbreak information related to Ward 8 schools?

We Act Radio will share any additional information shared.

Published by vspatz

Virginia hosts Community Under Covid at We Act Radio, podcasts at Rereading4Liberation.com, blogs on miscellaneous Jewish topics at "A Song Every Day, and manages the Education Town Hall and #WeLuvBooks sites. More at Vspatz.wordpress.com

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