Christmas break wiped the Dashboard clean of active cases, down to zero after a month of decreases.  We are aware of some cases contracted over break, and these community members are already quarantining. These may be Omicron cases.  Because the Omicron variant appears more contagious than its predecessors, we may well see a case rise for a while.  The good news is early international data suggest it’s less severe.

A new recommendation made the news a few days ago:  People who test positive “should isolate for 5 days and if they are asymptomatic or their symptoms are resolving (without fever for 24 hours), follow that by 5 days of wearing a mask when around others to minimize the risk of infecting people they encounter.”  PA has pursued a mask-optional policy this year, and continues to do so.  Thus, we invite families and members of the faculty and staff to choose between this new recommendation, which involves a masking period, and PA’s policy promulgated in August: “Students, faculty, and staff with lab-confirmed cases of COVID-19 will quarantine/isolate at home. If they are symptomatic, they must stay home for at least 10 days from the time the symptoms started, and until symptoms have improved, and they have had no fever for 24 hours without using fever-reducing medications. If they are asymptomatic, they should stay home for 10 days, counting from the day they were tested.”  Our health office may be consulted on this and all other COVID matters.

Below are updated longitudinal graphs of MDH data on testing, cases, and hospitalizations.  There is nothing particularly new or noteworthy regarding school-age children.

Please click a chart below to enlarge

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