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UH Staff, Cleveland-Area Students Exposed To Coronavirus

Six University Hospitals staff members are being monitored for signs of coronavirus after they had close contact with three people who have been diagnosed with the coronavirus, or COVID-19.

Hospital officials announced in a news release Tuesday that the caregivers are on self-quarantine in their homes.

Gov. Mike DeWine announced Monday that three Ohioans with confirmed cases of COVID-19 are from Cuyahoga County and in their mid-50s. They are a husband and wife who recently traveled together to Egypt, and another man who had traveled by bus to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) conference in Washington, D.C. last week.

All six UH caregivers are being tested to see if they have contracted the virus. Test results are pending, UH officials said.

The three people who tested positive had gone to their primary care physicians first for care, according to UH officials. They were then sent to the UH Cleveland Medical Center’s emergency room and put in the care of infectious disease doctors.

UH staff wore eye protection, gowns, gloves, and N95 masks while examining the patients, according to the release. Officials also stated that the patients were examined in negative pressure rooms which ensure the virus does not escape the room.

Meanwhile, several local private and public schools announced multiple teenswere on the same bus trip to Washington D.C. as one of the men who tested positive. These students have also been asked to self-quarantine for 14 days. Officials say none of the students are displaying symptoms of the virus.

Some 14 students from private schools including Hawken, Laurel School, University School, and Lawrence, attended AIPAC last week and were contacted by health officials Monday, said Gina Walter, spokesperson for Hawken.

There were many other students on the bus, Walters said. “There may, in fact, be students at other Jewish schools, as well as public schools and even other private schools.”

Officials at Solon’s public high school said they also have two students who are on self- quarantine, and Shakers Heights schools posted aletteron the district website announcing that two of its students also went to D.C. on that same bus trip to the AIPAC conference and are on self-quarantine.

“Additionally, we are aware that several other students throughout the District may have had contact with people who have had exposure to the affected individual. District administrators have consulted with public health officials and spoken with the families of the students involved.  At this time, there is no reason for schools to close or for these other individuals to be quarantined,” Shaker school officials said in the announcement.

Investigators from the Cuyahoga County Board of Health are retracing the steps of the three people who tested positive for coronavirus, said Kevin Brennan, spokesperson for the department.

The investigators are interviewing the three people who tested positive for COVID-19 and are trying to find out everyone who had close contact with them, he said.

“We try to determine based on the person's travel history. If someone stayed in a hotel? Were they in a car? Were they in a bus? Then we conduct interviews with the people who were in those areas,” Brennan said.

The investigation will likely be completed by the end of this week, according to Brennan. The county will publicly release a total number of people who had close contact – but they will not give any other details, such as where the people who tested positive for the virus live or where they went, he said.


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