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BRODHEAD — Less than one week into the school year, Brodhead High School is going fully virtual for two weeks after a COVID-19 outbreak among students, according to a Sept. 7 joint press release from the School District of Brodhead and Green County Public Health.
The news comes as Green County Public Health confirms the county's second COVID-19 death. As of Sept. 7, 304 residents have tested positive for COVID-19, with 38 of these active. Over the Labor Day weekend alone, 24 new cases were reported.
Virtual learning at Brodhead High School will continue until Friday, Sept. 18. The high school is undergoing a deep cleaning Sept. 8 and 9, during which time no students should report to the building.
So far, seven Brodhead High School students have tested positive for COVID-19, connected to "a student gathering that occurred the weekend before school started," Superintendent Leonard Lueck said in a statement.
Classes began Sept. 1, and by Sept. 4, one student had tested positive.
After contact tracing, the district sent home approximately 25 students considered to be close contacts at school. The school district "was also able to identify several students that had been in attendance at the student gathering, and these students were sent home as well," according to Lueck.
Lueck said the Brodhead School Board "will be discussing their next steps" at the Sept. 9 board meeting. Green County Public Health is working with school leadership and staff to track, trace and contain the virus.
It is the second outbreak reported within a few days in Green County. Last week Monroe Truck Equipment reported an outbreak among employees.
A COVID-19 outbreak investigation in any setting involves the same basic public health principles, according to Green County Public Health: detection of cases, isolation of the ill, contact tracing, quarantine of cases and close contacts, laboratory testing, and infection control measures in the setting to prevent additional transmission.
RoAnn Warden, health officer and director of Green County Public Health, cautioned that "COVID-19 can be spread by asymptomatic people, meaning people who are not experiencing symptoms such as fever, cough and shortness of breath."
Also on Sept. 7, Warden confirmed the county's second COVID-19 death.
"I am saddened to report that a second Green County resident has died due to complications from COVID-19 on Aug. 26," she wrote in an email to the Times. The person was in their 70s, had multiple co-morbidities and had been hospitalized for several weeks.
The public health department is reminding parents, students and community members to take the following precautions to slow the spread of COVID-19 and "in order to maintain in-person instruction" in schools:
• Limit non-essential trips into the community.
• Stay home when sick and do not send students to school if ill.
• Watch for symptoms of COVID-19, which include fever and chills, cough, shortness of breath, loss of taste or smell, sore throat, fatigue and body/muscle aches, diarrhea, vomiting and nausea.
• Seek testing from a provider if symptoms of COVID-19 occur.
• Keep physical distance of at least six feet from anyone not part of your household.
• Frequently wash your hands and cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue or sleeve.
In addition, by state mandate, "everyone over the age of five must wear cloth face coverings whenever you are indoors or in an enclosed space, other than a private residence, and other people not from your household are present in the same room or enclosed space."