North schools show spike in COVID cases

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3D illustration of coronavirus

By Max Bowen-max.bowen@northstarreporter.com

Over the last few weeks North Attleborough has seen a sharp increase in COVID-19 cases, with several among the town’s students.

According to a weekly report from the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE), during the week of March 18-24, a total of 28 students with building access were diagnosed with COVID, along with three staff. This was the highest reported case number that week, with Braintree the next highest at 24 students and five faculty. Barnstable reported 22 students and five staff were positive for the virus.

Statewide, 672 students and 218 faculty were positive for the virus that week. According to a cart on the district web site which is updated weekly, there have been a total of 280 COVID cases among students and staff, with 2018 quarantined close contacts.

North’s recent positivity number shows a sharp increase in recent weeks. The previous week there were 13 total cases among students and staff, and eight the week before that. In early March, the administration began bringing in-class population back to full classes four days a week.

A number of steps have been taken to reduce transmission of the virus, including mandatory masks, constant cleaning of the classrooms, and improved air filtration systems. Screening for students and staff is available for those showing symptoms of COVID-19. There is no one threshold or metric that indicates a school or district should suspend in-person learning.

As of earlier this week, North Attleborough’s total COVID-19 cases rose to 2,390, more than 10 percent of the town’s population. It had been 2,107 at the start of the month. In the past 14 days there have been 2,546 COVID-19 tests done in the community with 149 positive results. This information comes from the town’s Health Department.

The current rate of positive cases is at 5.85 percent (149 as of this time), has pushed North Attleborough into the Red designation set by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health. There have been 32 deaths due to COVID-19 in North Attleborough.