Confirmed cases of COVID-19 have temporarily closed a Southern Seven Head Start classroom in the Metropolis Head Start Early Learning Center.

The class is scheduled to resume on Sept. 13.

The case was reported in one traditional Head Start classroom on Aug. 30. Families have been notified. More information will be shared with families as it becomes available.

The decision for temporary closure of the classrooms occurred after consultation with Southern Seven Health Department during its investigation of the case. Head Start officials said the closure is a precautionary measure to provide time for cleaning and disinfecting of the classrooms.

Southern Seven Health Department is contact tracing to identify those who may have been exposed to the coronavirus.

“Contact tracing helps identify those who may be at risk after someone tests positive,” said Nathan Ryder, Southern Seven’s contact tracing outreach coordinator. “This is done to let people know what symptoms to watch for, reduces their exposures to others and slows the spread of COVID-19. Should you be identified by S7HD as a possible contact, your cooperation is appreciated. Anyone with questions regarding possible exposure can call 618-634-2297.”

From Aug. 25-31, Southern Seven reported 32 Massac County school age children had been confirmed with COVID cases. Ryder reported on Friday, Aug. 27, that half of the region’s confirmed cases for that day were children.

The health department reports that COVID-19 cases continue being spread by community transmission at alarming rates within the Southern Seven region — Alexander, Hardin, Johnson, Massac, Pope, Pulaski and Union counties. All seven counties were moved into the Orange Warning Level on Friday, Aug. 27.

As of Monday, Aug. 30, the state is under an indoor mask mandate. Effective Sunday, Sept. 5, educators and health care professionals will be required to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.

“This virus can be spread up to 48 hours before a person has symptoms,” Ryder said. “Anyone who is unvaccinated and has been at gatherings where little to no safety measures were in place is at risk of contracting COVID-19.”

Symptoms of COVID-19 can include fever or chills, cough, shortness of breath, fatigue, body aches, headache, new loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting, and diarrhea.

“If you begin to show symptoms, isolate immediately and contact your health care provider about getting tested for COVID-19,” Ryder said.

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As of last Friday, Southern Seven reported Massac County had 440 potential new cases (based on 62 positive cases) per 100,000 reported. The test positivity percentage for the county was 13.4% out of 388 tests. ICU availability was 6.2%.

From Aug. 25-31, Southern Seven reported 96 new cases of COVID — nine younger than 10-years-old; 23 teenagers; 10 in their 20s; 18 in their 30s; 11 in their 40s; 10 in their 50s; seven in their 60s; seven in their 70s; and one in their 80s or above — in Massac County. As of Tuesday, Massac County has reached 1,730 total cases since the pandemic began. Of that number, 1,569 have recovered.

As of Tuesday, there were 124 active cases. As of Tuesday, 8,796 have received the vaccine since it became available in December 2020. Of that number, 4,232 have been fully vaccinated, meaning 30.06% of the county’s population has been fully vaccinated.

Over the last week, Southern Seven has reported a total of four COVID-19-related deaths in its region, bringing the death toll to 115 since May 4, 2020.

There have been 8,856 cumulative cases in the Southern Seven region since the pandemic began, with 411 newly confirmed cases reported from Aug. 25-31.

A total of 14,386 variant cases have been reported in the state through Tuesday.

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