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Illinois to use CDC definition of school outbreak

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention previously defined an outbreak as two cases within a single school.
Elementary school students sit on board a school bus after attending in-person classes at...
Elementary school students sit on board a school bus after attending in-person classes at school in Wheeling, Ill., Thursday, Nov. 19, 2020.(AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)
Published: Oct. 15, 2021 at 5:54 PM CDT
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SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WIFR) - Public schools in Illinois get new guidance on the criteria that must be met to determine if there is a COVID-19 outbreak in their buildings.

Previously, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said if a school has at least two COVID-19 cases, it can declare an outbreak. The new recommendations change that a bit. Now an outbreak is defined as either multiple cases that add up to at least 10 percent of students, teachers or staff within a core group or at least three cases within a specific group. A core group is a group of people who were together during an exposure period.

“This change in criteria will continue to identify outbreaks and help prevent further spread, but also help rule out outbreaks that are not associated with the school,” said Illinois Department of Public Health Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike.

Students, staff and visitors must wear masks inside schools to protect their health and to protect further spread in the community. The IDPH recommends vaccinations for anyone ages 12 and older. An executive order from Governor J.B. Pritzker requires school personnel be fully vaccinated or test weekly for COVID-19.

For more information about the recommendations, visit dph.illinois.gov/covid19/youth-school.html.

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