MIAMI (AP) — Four days after sending the first wave of students back to brick-and-mortar classrooms in a staggered reopening, the Miami-Dade County school district announced its first case of a student testing positive for COVID-19.
The district said in a news release sent Thursday morning that a student at William H. Lehman Elementary in Kendall will remain at home until the county’s health department provides clearance for a return to school.
Everyone identified as having come into close contact with the student has been notified and will also remain at home until cleared by health officials, the release said.
School officials said the student’s movements were limited, but the entire school was thoroughly sanitized early Thursday, according to district protocols.
“The school community has been sent a notification about the case,” the release said.
Officials did not disclose the student’s age, how long the student had been in school or how many people were asked to quarantine.
Miami-Dade County has the nation’s fourth largest school district, with 345,000 students and more than 40,000 employees. The district opened schools Monday in a phased reopening that continues through Friday. Neighboring Broward County will begin a similar staggered reopening of schools Friday.
South Florida was the state’s hardest hit region during the pandemic and is the last in the state to return to brick-and-mortar schools. Parents who chose to continue with remote learning for their children have been allowed to do so.
Also Thursday, Florida recorded about 3,300 new confirmed cases of COVID-19, the highest addition in nearly three weeks, along with a slight uptick in the number of people being treated in hospitals for the illness.
Metrics in Florida’s outbreak have generally trended downward since peaks in new cases and hospitalizations in July and in peaks of daily reported deaths at the beginning of August. But in the past couple of weeks, as the state has further reopened restaurants and other businesses and schools have restarted brick-and-mortar classes, some of those trends have leveled without further decline.
Hospitalizations, for example, peaked above 9,500 on July 22 and declined steadily through August and most of September. But over the past two weeks they have remained between 2,000 and 2,200 statewide — with 2,148 patients in the late morning Thursday, up 20 from the previous day, according to a state online hospital bed census.
So far, 15,254 people have died of the disease in Florida — with an average of 91 new deaths reported daily over the past week. Florida ranks fifth among the states in deaths and 12th in per capita deaths.
Follow AP coverage of the pandemic at https://apnews.com/VirusOutbreak and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak.
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