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Public Health Says Schools Are Challenged By Omicron Spike

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Sonora, CA — The rise in the number of COVID-19 cases because of the Omicron variant is impacting many schools in Tuolumne County.

It is becoming more common that individual classrooms are temporarily closing due to a breakout.

Interim Public Health Officer, Dr. Eric Sergienko says, “Every school in the county pretty much has cases at this point and some to the point where we have discussed with them going beyond the closing of classes.”

Dr. Sergienko says the two reasons classrooms close temporarily are because of operational challenges (staff members out with COVID and limited substitutes available) or there is enough illness in a classroom where they can assume everyone is a close contact.

Tuolumne County had its highest number of COVID cases in a single day, 218, this past Wednesday. 44 of which were under the age of 18. The following day there were 27 infections under the age of 18.

Schools have shifted, under the direction of the California Department of Public Health, to a quarantine period that could be as short as five days based on symptoms and negative test results.

In addition, fully vaccinated students, and those who tested positive for COVID within the last 90 days, are not required to test or quarantine if they are a close contact, but need to stay home if they have symptoms.

Of a related note, Sonora Elementary announced to parents over the weekend that school will be closed this Tuesday and Wednesday due to COVID-related issues with “vital staff.”