Clay County school coronavirus infections double, but infection rate remains low

CLAY COUNTY, Fla. – There are now 22 total cases of COVID-19 infections within the Clay County school district.

That number is 10 more than last week, according to the COVID-19 report released Tuesday to the public.

Superintendent David Broskie released the new numbers during an interview with The Morning Show on Thursday.

While he said one infection is one-too-many, he also pointed out that compared to the overall number of students within the district, 22 infections reflects a very low positivity rate, less than 1%. There are more than 39,000 students and more than 5,000 staff in the district.

“That includes every age bracket in school, that’s a low transmission rate in comparison to the rest of the state. In fact, there were only 2 cases in the 5 to 14 age range,” he explained.

Broskie said high school students continue to be the group with the highest infection rate within the district.

“When you think about it, high schoolers are more social, they are out, they are doing things outside in the community. They are involved in a variety of different sports and have more opportunity to mingle with folks,” he said.

For this reason, Broskie urges parents to talk with their teenagers about making sure that they are wearing a mask when with their friends and that they continue to socially distance when off-campus.

Broskie said most of the infections appear to be happening off school grounds and the students then bring the virus to school with them. As a result, 137 students have had to quarantine. That number reflects last week’s cases, which given the new infections, is expected to increase when the district’s infection report is updated on Monday.

Broskie also explained why the district is not going to be releasing daily COVID-19 numbers, like other school districts in the area, including Duval County.

“We want to make sure that the information is accurate. Sometimes through contact tracing, we have a certain number of students that you have to contact trace. Please keep in mind that when you have a high school student in Clay, they have six classes. Some districts have seven per day and the odds of being around a number of people. Let’s pretend that there are eight students that the infected student is sitting around, when you do the eight times six, before you know it, there is a large group of people with one student involved. So we want to make sure that the info is accurate. We want to keep archiving those so people can compare from week to week how we are doing in our district. But right now, so far so good, I’m proud of everybody and their efforts and I think everybody is taking it seriously and doing the right thing.”

It is important to note, the numbers released by the district reflect positive cases that have been self-reported to the schools. The Clay County health department will not verify these numbers due to medical privacy laws. Therefore, if some parents and students choose not to report symptoms or a positive test to the district, the numbers may not be an accurate portrayal of the true number of infections within Clay County schools.

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