LONG BEACH PENINSULA — Ocean Beach School District announced the first confirmed case of covid-19 among the student body since the start of the school year, amid an additional 11 cases of the virus being reported in Pacific County over the past week.
The district announced on Oct. 20 that one of its students, a preschooler at Ocean Beach Early Childhood Learning Center in Long Beach, was confirmed to have tested positive for covid-19. The confirmed case comes on the heels of two north county school districts also announcing their first positive cases earlier in October.
Another student, a second grader at Long Beach Elementary who resides in the same household as the preschooler, was considered as probable for the virus, but a confirmatory PCR test for the student came back with covid-19 not being detected, according to OBSD Superintendent Amy Huntley. Pacific County Health Manager Stephanie Michael said that while she cannot comment on an individual’s test results, the case is still being considered as probable.
According to OBSD’s statement, both students had last been in class a day prior to the announcement of the preschooler’s positive test result, on Oct. 19. In-person instruction for both classes were halted, with the second grade class returning to LBE on Monday, Oct. 26, according to Huntley. The preschool remains closed until next week.
Following the announcement of the cases, the Pacific County Health and Human Services Department opened up its drive-thru testing center at the Long Beach Volunteer Fire Department on Oct. 21, for any students, parents or staff to get tested with no appointment being necessary. Of the more than 60 people who got tested at the fire hall that day, covid-19 was not detected in any individual, according to Michael.
On Oct. 26, five more confirmed cases were announced in Pacific County by the health department, including two children age 10 or younger. Both of their cases, as well as another case involving a woman between 30 and 40 years old, are linked to out-of-county travel, however, and Michael said none of the cases announced on Monday are connected to the school’s cases.
Of the two other announced cases, one is a man between 60 and 70 years old, and is linked to a social gathering. The other case is a woman between 60 and 70 years old, whose exposure to the virus is currently unknown.
There have now been 120 confirmed cases of covid-19 attributed to Pacific County, with 10 active cases being monitored by public health nurses; eight confirmed cases and two probable cases awaiting confirmation.
As of Oct. 27, Pacific County’s case rate is about 40 new cases per 100,000 people over a two-week rolling average, putting it in the moderate-risk category when it comes to holding in-person instruction, according to state recommendations. The county has been in the moderate-risk category for about a week, after being in the high-risk category for about two weeks.
For now, Michael said she does not expect Pacific County Health Officer Dr. Steven Krager to make any changes to his September recommendations regarding in-person learning. Since Oct. 12, all grade levels at OBSD are now meeting in-person at least part-time, with K-2 students meeting in-person five days a week.
As of Oct. 26, Washington state had 103,500 confirmed covid-19 infections, including 2,321 deaths.