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AZDHS requires schools, child care centers, shelters report virus outbreaks

(AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)

PHOENIX — Arizona’s health department issued an emergency measure Monday requiring schools, child care centers and shelters to report coronavirus outbreaks to local health departments.

The measure applies to public schools, charter schools and private schools with students from kindergarten through 12th grade.

An outbreak is defined as two or more laboratory-confirmed cases of COVID-19 within a 14-day period among individuals who are epidemiologically linked, do not share a household and are not close contacts of each other in another setting.

“Schools, child care centers, and shelters have always worked with public health and have been among the best reporters of communicable disease information,” Dr. Cara Christ, the state’s health director, said in a press release.

“This emergency measure addresses the serious threat COVID-19 poses to our communities and allows public health and our schools to work together to keep our kids safe.”

The measure comes after some Arizona school districts returned to in-person learning last week, the first time they could do so this academic year.

Child facilities that do report an outbreak have do so within 24 hours of identification, according to the measure.

Those facilities already are required to report cases of communicable diseases including mumps, measles and chickenpox to local health departments.

“Procedures on how to report and handle cases of COVID-19 will help schools as they navigate this most unprecedented school year,” Superintendent of Public Instruction Kathy Hoffman said in the release.

“This emergency measure gives schools the instructions they need to correctly report cases as we head further into the new academic year.”

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