COVID-19: More infected students, staff, hospitalizations – Oak Ridger

COVID-19 is surging through the area again, as evidenced by the number of infected Oak Ridge students and staff and patients in the local hospital.

The Oak Ridge Schools Case Count Dashboard on Wednesday showed 39 students have active cases of COVID-19 and six employees. A breakdown on where the students are enrolled shows 12 students at Oak Ridge High, five each at Robertsville Middle, Willow Brook and Linden elementaries, two at Woodland and Glenwood elementaries, and eight at Jefferson Middle. The infected staff breakdown: Two each at Glenwood Elementary and Jefferson Middle, and one each at Willow Brook and Woodland elementaries.

Asked about the students and staff and the procedures within the school system, Schools Superintendent Bruce Borchers said in an email, “As you know keeping students and staff safe is our No. 1 priority throughout the pandemic. We have made no changes to COVID policy this semester.”

He said the attorney for Oak Ridge Schools basically said school systems should adopt and follow the updated Tennessee Department of Health isolation guidelines and that school systems, like the state Health Department, can recommend those returning from isolation wear masks or other face coverings. However, because of state legislation, they cannot be required to wear the masks or other face coverings during school.

State Health Department

The Wednesday’s weekly update from the Tennessee Department of Health shows 1,176 active cases in Anderson County and a total of 270 deaths since the pandemic began.

In Roane County, the number of active cases is listed at 708 active cases and 184 deaths. In Morgan County, there are 219 active cases and 60 deaths listed.

Across Tennessee, there were approximately 31 deaths from COVID-19 per day last week for a total of 21,095. The dashboard shows there were approximately 13,503 active cases per day for a total of 1.54 million. Hospitalizations across the state from the coronavirus totaled 2,415.

Methodist Medical Center

Covenant Health resumed COVID-19 reports to the community via an online dashboard on Wednesday. For Methodist Medical Center of Oak Ridge, the dashboard shows 25 patients at the local hospital are confirmed to have COVID-19, although at least three more are suspected of having the coronavirus.

In the hospital’s intensive care unit (ICU), all those infected with COVID-19 were unvaccinated for COVID-19, according to the MMC news release. Of all the patients hospitalized at MMC, not just in the ICU, 64% were unvaccinated, according to the dashboard. The median age of the current COVID-19 patients at MMC is 70.

“The dashboard shows collective data from Covenant Health’s nine acute-care hospitals, as well as hospital-specific data for each facility. The dashboards will be updated daily at noon at CovenantHealth.com/covid-19-dashboard and shared on health system and hospital Facebook pages Monday through Friday.

“Covenant Health recommends following the five core actions to prevent coronavirus infections: social distancing, wearing a mask, frequent hand washing and cleaning surfaces regularly, staying home when sick and getting vaccinated. Covenant Health encourages everyone to get the COVID-19 vaccine and a flu shot to help prevent the spread of illness and protect the health of our communities. More information is available at CovenantHealth.com/Coronavirus.

For individuals who may be experiencing COVID-19 symptoms or symptoms of other non-emergency conditions, Covenant Health offers “Helen,” a virtual chat-bot that can assist visitors to CovenantHealth.com with symptom checking and scheduling an appointment with a physician. When a person goes to the website, they’ll see a white box come up on the lower right hand corner with a blue, female nurse image and the words “Chat with us …” The visitor to the website can then type in a message and be taken to information pertinent to their issue.

Donna Smith can be contacted at (865) 220-5514 or at dsmith@oakridger.com. Follow her on Twitter @ridgernewsed.

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