A Fletcher Middle School student has tested positive for the coronavirus, the Palo Alto school district said on Tuesday.
"County health officials have signaled that we should expect the virus to continue spreading for a period of time across Santa Clara County. As promised, PAUSD will report all confirmed cases to our staff and families," reads a district message sent out to all families and staff on Tuesday morning.
Superintendent Don Austin told the Weekly that the family notified the district that the student's test results came back positive on Monday, March 16. The district in turn communicated that to the Santa Clara County Public Health Department.
The student was at school last Wednesday, March 11, Austin said. All Palo Alto Unified schools closed effective this Monday, March 16, following an order from county public health and education officials.
The county is no longer doing the work of checking with all the individuals someone who tests positive may have come in contact with, Austin said.
"The bigger picture is a month ago we would have been really focused on this individual student and trying to hunt down contacts," he said. "We're just past that point as a county and probably as a nation."
The district message includes guidance from Santa Clara County Public Health Department and reminds families to adhere to the new shelter in place order restricting non-essential activities, business and travel, which went in to effect Tuesday at midnight and lasts until April 7.
In conversations with the county, Austin said public health officials are urging that "all citizens right now should operate as though the coronavirus is everywhere. ... As testing increases, we should except more confirmed cases throughout our county."
Santa Clara County Public Health Department has confirmed 17 additional cases of COVID-19 virus, totaling 155 as of 2 p.m. on March 17. Of those, 70 are presumed community transmitted; 56 people are hospitalized; 18 are associated with international travel; 38 are close contacts of known cases. Five people have died, the health department announced on Tuesday afternoon.
This story will be updated as more information becomes available.
Find comprehensive coverage on the Midpeninsula's response to the new coronavirus by Palo Alto Online, the Mountain View Voice and Almanac here.