SALT LAKE COUNTY, Utah (ABC4 News) – The Salt Lake County Health Department recently launched a COVID-19 tracker to show the community how many confirmed cases are in each school district, and whether or not an individual school has any.
“The purpose of us putting this out there is so parents can be educated,” said county epidemiologist Annie George.
With school now back in session, George said public health officials expected there to be some COVID-19 cases.
“We knew we would likely see an increase. It has been a substantial one,” George said. “But the other thing factoring into that is the Labor Day weekend where we always see spikes after holidays.”
The dashboard reports 336 people within Salt Lake County schools tested positive for the respiratory virus in the last 14 days.
The county health department only reports when a school has met the state’s threshold – of 15 or more cases – recommending a school move to online learning.
When a person – or multiple people –within a school test positive, George said a school liaison notifies the health department. From there, contact tracers call those who’ve tested positive to find out where they’ve been, and who they’ve been in contact with, in recent days.
She said this effort also involves the help of district’s identifying those whom a person may have been around in school.
“It gets a little complicated in a high school where kids are in a lot of different classrooms throughout the day, and in some classes, there’s assigned seating, and some there’s not,” George said. “And we’ve tried to encourage that to help with that.”
If a person’s been in close contact with a positive person for more than 15 minutes and less than six feet apart, George said they are notified.
Once all who are impacted are identified, George said the district is responsible to decide what happens next.