At the same time that the Ohio Department of Health is adjusting contract tracing requirements for Ohio schools, Richland County schools are still managing with many dozens of student and staff cases.
In making their move, the Department cited the way in which the Omicron variant has impacted the ongoing pandemic. Infections arrive and then leave more quickly, and symptoms tend to be less severe.
The variant’s unpredictable nature suggests that it is more practical to consider COVID existing almost everywhere, it said.
“The quick spread of the Omicron variant and its rapid clinical course have made universal contact tracing, case investigation and exposure notification impractical when combined with newly reduced timelines for quarantine and isolation,” said ODH Director Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff
The outbreak model still has utility, the Department shared. ““This strategy prioritizes people in high-risk settings, such as congregate residential settings (e.g., shelters, correctional facilities, and nursing homes) or for certain circumstances such as outbreaks or clusters in specific settings or in relation to initial cases or clusters associated with new variants, as appropriate.”
Most Richland County schools are dealing with a strong degree of COVID/Omnicom infection. In Thursday numbers released by the Department, 17 districts or buildings reported new infections.
In those settings, a total of 297 students and 64 staff cases of COVID were reported. Madison schools had the most with 93 students and staff infections.
The following were the numbers shared on Thursday: