The family of the Seattle-area high school student who tested positive for coronavirus took all the right precautions in dealing with the teen’s illness, health officials in Washington state said Saturday, seeking to calm backlash from the community.
The student from Jackson High School in Snohomish County fell ill with a fever and body aches at the beginning of the week and tested negative for the flu at a local clinic, according to officials from Snohomish Health District.
On Friday morning, after being fever-free for 48 hours, he spent about five minutes on campus, then was told to return home immediately when the family learned he was being tested for covid-19, the district said. Health officials announced the test results a few hours later.
“The family did everything right,” Heather Thomas, the health district’s public affairs manager, told The Washington Post, adding that the family has faced a flurry of attacks on social media.
“They went above and beyond,” she said. “He was only on campus for minutes. The risk to the community was low.”
The teen is currently isolated at home and will stay there until his covid-19 tests come back negative and he is deemed clear by health officials, Thomas said. Jackson High School will close through Monday for cleaning.
The student’s family said he is now “symptom-free.”
“We are taking this situation very seriously,” the family said in a statement through the health district. “Please know that we have been following all guidance and instructions from both the health care providers that treated our son, as well the Snohomish Health District. We understand the concerns and anxiety raised, but we ask that the community and media please respect our family’s privacy.”
Health officials are investigating how the student became infected and tracing his contacts to see who else may have been exposed. Some students who had close contact with the patient have been quarantined for two weeks, as the Seattle Times reported.