More COVID cases reported at schools

Local municipalities and school districts have continued to report new coronavirus cases this week.

Shenendehowa district sees its sixth case this week

The Shenendehowa school district said Thursday that two Orenda Elementary school students and a middle school staff member have tested positive for COVID-19 — marking the district’s fourth, fifth and sixth cases so far this week.

The Orenda cases are “directly related” to a Chango Elementary teacher who tested positive earlier this week and were they were contracted through outside activities, not by attending school, the district said in a notice posted to its website. Later in the evening, the district announced that a middle school staff member has also tested positive, though it did not identify to which of its three middle schools the person is connected.

The district says it’s working with the Saratoga County Public Health Department to assist with any follow-up needed through contact tracing.

Anyone identified as having prolonged, direct exposure to the students was to be contacted by the end of the day Thursday, the district said. Officials are urging area residents to add the number for the county health department — 518-885-2276 — to their contacts as it may otherwise come up as spam on some phones.

If you do not receive a call, then you have not been identified as having direct, prolonged contact with the person, the district said.

“We cannot emphasize enough that parents, students and staff members need to be just as vigilant following guidelines outside of school, this includes limiting group gatherings, practicing good hygiene, wearing masks and following social distance guidelines,” the district said in a notice posted to its website.

Two students from Shenedehowa’s High School East also tested positive for the virus this week. The first one was announced Sunday and the second on Tuesday. The district said the latter case was related to a previous case “stemming from a point of exposure in a recreational contact outside of school.”

The district said all students and staff are required to complete a daily health assessment, wear masks and socially distance while in school or on the bus. In addition, classrooms are cleaned regularly throughout the school day, and deep cleaned and sanitized at the end of each school day.

“Safety is everyone’s responsibility,” the district said. “We need to work together to keep everyone safe. Please do not send your child to school sick. If you suspect that you, your child, or someone in your family has been potentially exposed to COVID-19, please contact your personal medical provider.”

14 more people added to Albany County caseload

Albany County reported 14 new coronavirus cases Thursday.

County Executive Dan McCoy said that brings the total number of cases to 2,876 since the pandemic began. There are 93 active cases in the county and 2,783 people have recovered from the virus.

Of the new cases, eight are associated with the University at Albany, two are health care workers or live in congregate settings and three did not have a clear source of transmission.

Eight people remain hospitalized, with no patients in intensive care.

UAlbany has had 73 positive cases since Sept. 11. It would have to hit more than 100 cases by a static two-week window deadline Friday to impact student in-person learning.

The university has had 114 cases since classes began this fall semester, with 49 of those students who tested positive doing remote only learning.

Low transmission risk seen at Queensbury High

A person who was in Queensbury High School earlier this week has tested positive for COVID-19, Warren County officials said Thursday.

The exact days and times the person was in school were not disclosed, but district officials said the person was not there Wednesday and described their case as asymptomatic. State and local health authorities additionally determined that any risk of transmission would have been low, the district said, since the person followed safety protocols at all times in accordance with the district’s safety plan.

“At this time, the district remains open for in-person instruction,” Superintendent Kyle Gannon wrote in a letter to families Wednesday.

The district was notified of the case Wednesday, he said. Only one person was ordered to quarantine as a result of the case, he said.

County Health Services announced the case Thursday, and said an investigation was conducted by their staff, as well as school district administration and the state Department of Health.

A joint determination was made not to quarantine students who were in the presence of the infected person based on precautions taken within the school by students and staff, the county said.

The source of the person’s infection remains under investigation.

The district previously had two members of its elementary school test positive for coronavirus.

Those cases, confirmed Sept. 10, were members of the same household and risk to others would have been similarly low due to safety precautions that were taken, officials said.

“As is being seen around the country, the return to school has been accompanied by a spike in COVID-19 cases locally,” the county warned in a COVID-19 update issued Thursday. “Until Wednesday, Warren County has not had 20 or more active COVID-19 infections among residents since May 28-29.”

The county was monitoring 22 active cases of coronavirus Thursday, one of whom was in the hospital.

The county was monitoring just six cases at the start of the month. County Health Services Director Ginelle Jones urged anyone who feels “any symptom of illness” to stay home until they consult with a medical provider about a COVID-19 test.

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