Butler County schools have 110 COVID cases as school year begins

The Ohio Department of Health reported Thursday that more than 100 new COVID-19 cases in Butler County Schools.

Most of the 110 reported new COVID-19 cases are in the Hamilton and Fairfield school districts, which both had to cancel Friday night’s football games because of COVID protocols.

There is a couple of days delay in the Ohio Department of Health’s data reporting, but the state showed 21 new positive COVID cases for Fairfield on Thursday. For Hamilton, they show 38 new positive cases.

By contrast, Lakota and Middletown school districts, which recently imposed mask mandates for its school buildings, had five and zero reported new cases, respectively, according to the state.

Cases across the state have skyrocketed as the Delta variant of the COVID-19 virus made its way across the country. There are more than 4,800 new cases statewide reported on Friday.

There have been 1,991 new cases in Butler County since Aug. 1, with 83 hospitalizations and 11 deaths, according to the state. By contrast, there were fewer than 800 new cases reported in all of July, and nearly half as many hospitalizations. Seven people died related to COVID-19 last month.

“Our hospitalizations today are at levels that are quite concerning and they are increasing at a troubling rate,” Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff, director of the Ohio Department of Health said during a Friday afternoon. “Unvaccinated Ohioans are by far and away the COVID-19 patients who are filling our hospitals.”

Ohio’s COVID-19 cases now rival what they were in January when the COVID-19 vaccines were not readily available to the general public.

On the Fairfield City School District website, it lists a total of 32 positive COVID cases scattered across its buildings. The most cases are at West Elementary (8), Crossroads Middle School (7), Senior High School (5), and Creekside Middle School (4), according to the district’s COVID-19 dashboard.

School spokeswoman Gina Gentry-Fletcher said while the positive cases are scattered throughout the district, “our quarantines have higher numbers in our two middle schools and at West Elementary.” Over the past week (Aug. 20 to Aug. 26), 263 students were under quarantine, according to the district’s COVID-19 dashboard. The district reports a total of 83 quarantining students at Creekside and Crossroads middle schools, 55 at West Elementary and 48 at the high school.

While masking is not mandatory in Fairfield, Gentry-Fletcher said the school board has said it “would be willing to have additional dialogue about masking once the district had its own data to analyze.”

Fairfield’s school year is less than two weeks old, so she said “this continues to be a very fluid situation.” The district sent a reminder to students and staff that if they wear a mask correctly and consistently they will not need to quarantine, she said.

“We will continue to strongly recommend facial coverings for all students and staff, regardless of vaccination status and will monitor our own data and consider a change if the data indicate a need to do so,” Gentry-Fletcher said.

In the Hamilton City Schools, there were 38 new COVID cases among students, according to the state health department. The district’s COVID-19 dashboard reports the past two weeks’ worth of data, and as of Friday afternoon, the district had 396 students quarantining over that time frame with 42 positive student cases.

Like Fairfield, Hamilton’s quarantining students are scattered across the district, but most are at the high school (94) and freshman school (58), but there were also high numbers of quarantining students at Highland (66) and Bridgeport (46) elementary schools.

ExploreHamilton City School District Board of Education Work Session 8-26-21

Crawford Woods Elementary had eight cases and Fairwood Elementary had five cases. Hamilton High, Garfield Middle, Highland Elementary and Brookwood Elementary schools all had four positive cases.

“The Board of Education and district are currently monitoring the situation daily,” said Hamilton Superintendent Michael Hollbrook.

The city of Hamilton Health Commissioner Kay Rogers and Hollbrook created a video promoting “layers of protection,” which encourages those eligible to be vaccinated and individuals who are not eligible for vaccination to wear masks.

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