The latest AP stories on COVID in the United States

About half of the cases were detected by testing at school sites that operated during the holidays and the other half used rapid at-home tests that were distributed to students before and during the break.We are pleased to see this testing regimen work the way we hoped it would, keeping sick people at home, Oaklands Superintendent Kyla Johnson-Trammell said in a statement.Sacramento City Unified reported that 500 students and staff were currently quarantining after testing positive for COVID-19 during the winter break.


PTI | Sanfrancisco | Updated: 05-01-2022 07:51 IST | Created: 05-01-2022 07:51 IST
The latest AP stories on COVID in the United States

Several California school districts praised efforts to test students and staff before the return to classrooms this week, saying it kept numerous positive COVID-19 cases off campuses.

The Oakland Unified School District said Tuesday that more than 900 students and staff tested positive before the start of school Monday and were currently staying at home as they recovered. About half of the cases were detected by testing at school sites that operated during the holidays and the other half used rapid at-home tests that were distributed to students before and during the break.

“We are pleased to see this testing regimen work the way we hoped it would, keeping sick people at home,” Oakland's Superintendent Kyla Johnson-Trammell said in a statement.

Sacramento City Unified reported that 500 students and staff were currently quarantining after testing positive for COVID-19 during the winter break. The district said it received about 38,000 test kits in December from the California Department of Public Health, many of which were distributed to students and staff before the winter break.

Testing was not mandatory, but school officials asked families who used tests to upload results through the district's website. Nearly 20,000 results were reported, of which 500 were positive, the district said in a statement.

Both districts serve about 50,000 students each.

Governor Gavin Newsom had pledged to get rapid tests to all 6 million public school children in California and staff at the state's 10,000 public schools before classrooms reopened from the winter holiday. Millions of rapid tests did go out before and during the winter break but millions more did not, partly due to delays by winter storms across the country, state health officials said in a statement. More are being delivered this week.

___ Indianapolis: The Indiana Department of Health say it has limited who is eligible for rapid COVID-19 tests at state-run sites due to high demand and a surge of cases amid the spread of the omicron variant.

Under new state guidance, rapid antigen tests at state and local health department testing sites will only available to those 18 or younger, regardless of symptoms, or those who are 50 and older, but symptomatic.

The department said the change is necessary “due to the national shortage of rapid antigen tests”.

Health officials said the new protocols will ensure students can stay in school and so residents who are most likely to need a monoclonal antibody can get it within the prescribed window.

___ Mission: Kansas health officials warned of a “dangerous moment” as one school district reimposed masks and another eased up on them during a meeting so contentious that the audience was removed.

In the Manhattan-Ogden district, the school board voted Monday to reinstate a district-wide mask mandate, changing a policy that had been in place since Nov 1 that made masks optional for high schoolers. The board will revisit the decision early next month.

Meanwhile, the board for the 27,000-student Shawnee Mission school district narrowly voted to allow a mask-optional policy to take effect for middle- and high-schoolers when classes resume Wednesday. The crowd interrupted so frequently that the board president twice shut the meeting down before kicking out the audience.

Superintendent Michelle Hubbard described the contentiousness of the meeting in a briefing Tuesday as “disappointing, to say the least” and noted that the board has been under tremendous pressure.

Hubbard said the district started the academic year 250 employees short and has struggled to find enough bus drivers, food service workers and substitute teachers. She said the situation is expected to get worse as omicron takes hold.

___ Omaha: The meat processing industry, which was hit hard by the spread of COVID-19 early in the pandemic, has weathered the recent surge in virus cases across the country without cutting production.

The latest numbers from the US Department of Agriculture show beef and pork production running close to last year's levels. And a spokeswoman for the North American Meat Institute said the trade group isn't aware of any significant production problems across the industry.

At the height of the outbreaks in the spring of 2020, US meatpacking production fell to about 60% of normal as several major plants were forced to temporarily close for deep cleaning and safety upgrades or operated at slower speeds because so many workers became ill or had to quarantine.

In October, a congressional report said at least 59,000 meatpacking workers at the five largest companies became ill with the virus and at least 269 workers died.

The major meat processors say their efforts to get workers vaccinated, combined with the safety measures they took after the initial outbreaks, have helped limit the spread of COVID-19 in their plants.

Tyson Foods remains the only major company to require all of its workers to get vaccinated while the other giant firms have strongly encouraged the shots and offered bonuses to workers who get them.

___ San Francisco: In San Francisco, the average seven-day number of new reported infections has climbed steeply to 829, which is more than double that of last winter's peak of 373 cases a day.

But the mayor of the city, which has had among the strictest public health protections against the virus and lowest infection and death numbers in the country, was upbeat Tuesday about the city's ability to weather the current omicron-driven surge, saying San Francisco had sufficient hospital beds.

Still, London Breed urged residents to get vaccinated or boosted if they have not done so and to limit time in crowded, indoor spaces. She noted that staffing remains an issue given the speed with which the variant spreads.

Currently, there are about 400 workers in police, fire and transportation who need to quarantine due to exposure and many more who can't work due to other COVID-related complications, such as child care.

(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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