COVID outbreak reported at GHS

GRAFTON—Local health officials are reporting an outbreak of COVID-19 at Grafton High School and are citing spread during an extracurricular activity.

According to Grafton-Taylor County Health Department Threat Preparedness Coordinator Shawn Thorn, four positive cases have been identified among students, leading to the quarantine of 63 individuals.

He revealed that currently the department believes that the spread occurred through either a show choir event or a basketball game, although the source has not been pinned down.

“The only spread we’re seeing from this is in the school,” disclosed Thorn. “Taylor County has not seen any in-school transmission since almost November.”

In addition to the individuals at Grafton High that are being quarantined, there are also some from Anna Jarvis Elementary School and West Taylor Elementary School that have had to quarantine as well, bringing the total to 110 possible infections.

He noted that as of right now, the health department has not had to close down the school due to the outbreak, and that contact tracing is underway.

“Many of the staff at the school did not have to quarantine because they had already received vaccinations,” Thorn added. “Those that have active phone numbers with the board of education, who may have been in contact with a positive person have been called and messages were left.”

As long as those in quarantine do not develop symptoms or test positive, they will start coming back to school March 24 through March 26, after their 14-day quarantine period ends, according to Thorn.

“We were doing really well until this little hiccup,” he said. “We were almost green on both metrics, we hadn’t had community transmission for months, and we liked it that way.”

Thorn added that the health department has required that students would need to be separated to the six-foot required distance. To ensure that students and staff remained as safe as possible, spot checks were being completed at the county’s schools.

“After those stops, I will be able to provide the Taylor County Board of Education with guidance for some best practices and give them insight as where they can improve on those.

Taylor County Superintendent of Schools Christy Miller shared that she would continue working with local health officials to keep a focus on student and staff safety.

“We urge you to continue to follow best health practices including wearing face coverings, practicing social distancing, hand washing and cleaning protocols regularly,” Miller imparted.

Those individuals who believe that they may have been in contact with a positive person, or those who are wishing to undergo testing may do so at Grafton City Hospital or any other location that provides testing options. Testing is not completed at the health department any longer.

To schedule an appointment for testing at Grafton City Hospital, please call patient registration at 304-265-0400 extension 0.