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Will outbreaks in one part of the county impact school opening/closing decisions for districts in another part of the county?

This scenario is an excellent example of why epi-linking cases is a crucial part of JCDHE’s work. If health officials know and can trace the source of an outbreak—for example, a workplace where masks and social distancing is not being done—JCDHE can act accordingly and direct resources or orders to containing a specific outbreak.

The challenge is, at this time, Johnson County has community spread of COVID-19, that is, the virus is too widespread to mitigate by tracking individual outbreaks or clusters of disease. The cases are all over the county and are not all necessarily attributable to just a few events or places. As new case counts decrease, it may again be possible to prevent the spread by only focusing on clusters and outbreak sites. Until then, it is incumbent on community members to wear face coverings, practice social distancing, stay home when ill and wash hands frequently.

Johnson County school districts and health officials collaborate frequently. Recommendations for universal school open/closing would not be made because of a single, identified outbreak. At this time, due to the community spread of COVID-19 in Johnson County, recommendations for schools are applicable to all districts.