Chaffee County Public Health reported the confirmation of a positive case of COVID-19 at Avery Parsons Elementary School in Buena Vista Monday afternoon. 

“We believe that the child was exposed to COVID-19 through close contact with a family member and not within the school itself,” public health reported in a press release. 

The positive case is recovering in isolation at home. Close contacts to the positive case have been contacted by the health department. 

Public health said that close contacts for a school-aged child include the entire classroom, as well as anyone outside of the classroom who was within 6 feet or greater than 15 minutes. 

As a precaution, public health and the Buena Vista School District quarantined a second classroom of a sibling of the positive case. 

Students, staff and other close contacts have been instructed to quarantine at home for 14 days since last exposure. 

Individuals who are quarantined should stay at home and not go to school, childcare, after-school activities or any other activity around other people. 

“We understand that with children, true isolation and quarantine are challenging because of the caregiving needs of a child. For families of a quarantined child, it is important to do your best to avoid significant physical touch, sharing utensils, sharing drinks, etc. COVID-19 spreads easily within family units, so vulnerable family members need to be especially cautious around quarantined children,” public health nurse Emily Anderson said. 

If a close contact develops symptoms consistent with COVID-19 they need to follow isolation instructions, get tested and notify the school.

Siblings and parents of individuals who are quarantined may still go to school/work unless they or the individual who is quarantined starts showing symptoms or tests positive. 

Quarantined students and staff do not need to get tested for COVID-19 unless they become symptomatic. 

However many families may wish to proceed with testing. The best way to test quarantined individuals who do not have symptoms is through public health’s free COVID-19 testing clinics that are scheduled on Tuesdays and Thursdays in Salida and Wednesdays in Buena Vista. 

The ideal time to test a close contact is around 7 days after last exposure to the positive case. 

If symptoms develop, the health department recommends rapid testing through the child’s primary care physician.

Call public health at 719-539-4510 to schedule a COVID-19 test. 

The test results take 2-4 days. A negative test result does not mean that one will not develop symptoms or become sick after the test. 

A negative test result means that one did not have COVID-19 detected at the time of testing. A negative test will not release one from isolation and does not allow one to return to school or attend other activities sooner.

If you have further questions, please contact Chaffee County Public Health at 719-539-4510.

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