What happens when a positive COVID-19 case is determined at an Erie County school? County officials explain


(WIVB) – “We’re starting very conservatively,” is how the Erie County Health Commissioner, Dr. Gale Burstein, describes the criteria for determining who else is asked to quarantine when someone in school has COVID-19.

County officials outlined the process Wednesday afternoon.

Dr. Burstein said the process continues to evolve and she expects new guidance this week from the state, but for now, Erie County is not taking chances with how close is too close.

When someone in an Erie County school is determined to have COVID-19, the county health department will first look at who was within six feet of the infected person for at least 10 minutes, but they also consider who was in the same room for at least an hour.

“In a regular-sized classroom, if the duration of exposure was at least 60 minutes, then we tell everyone in that classroom to go home and do virtual learning or teaching for 14 days and get a test,” Dr. Burstein explained.

Wednesday morning, News 4 learned that someone who was in Orchard Park Middle School on Monday tested positive for COVID-19. The school is working with contact tracers to determine who else needs to quarantine.

On the NYS Covid Report Card website, Lackawanna, Amherst, and Clarence school districts are still each reporting one in-school case.

Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz wouldn’t say how many families have been asked to keep a child home for each positive case in each school.

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