Health officials are looking into the rise of COVID-19 cases in areas in Chicago where high schools have started to resume in-person learning. Unfortunately, they are unable to specify the origin of these cases as these vary by school.
According to school officials, there are 12 active cases at John Hersey High School in Arlington Heights. The school has put a total of 147 students in quarantine as of this writing.
Principal Gordie Sisson says that those who have reported positive infections have admitted to being with a group of kids without masks on in basements or in eating places, like a sandwich shop or something like that.”
The school principal says that there is no one who is seriously ill right now and that there have been no hospitalizations needed.
Upon this writing, the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) is monitoring a total of 21 school outbreaks. The government agency believes some of these may be linked to sports.
“While it is difficult to determine where an exposure occurred, we are hearing during investigations about people unmasked in locker rooms, weight rooms, social gatherings, bus rides, and even on the field [not wearing or improperly worn masks],” IDPH spokesperson Melaney Arnold said.
Arnold added that there have been some athletes who played “while symptomatic and not getting tested for fear of missing playing time or quarantine.”
Sisson believes that their school is not facing an outbreak by Cook County’s definition of the word since there are no five or more linked cases.
According to the Lake County Health Department, the number of recent cases has doubled among children between the ages of 14 and 18 years old. It poses a danger since the virus can easily spread to other family members, who are more at risk for serious complications.
“We really need to make sure that our children, if they are eligible to get vaccinated, are vaccinated,” Lake County Health Department’s Dr. Sana Ahmed said. “That in the interim, we are very cognizant that we are practicing those three W’s of wearing a mask, washing your hands, and watching your distance.”