New Trier High School reports 27 COVID-19 cases — highest total this school year — as local transmission continues to rise
COVID-19’s winter surge across the region has struck New Trier High School.
As of Tuesday, Dec. 7, New Trier students and staffers accounted for 27 cases of the virus. The previous high this school year was 11 on Nov. 11.
In addition, six other individuals were in quarantine on Tuesday, Dec. 7, a stark difference from the school’s February outbreak when 50 new cases were counted and hundreds of students were quarantined.
At this point, 93 percent of staff and 92 percent of students at New Trier High School are fully vaccinated. Vaccinated individuals who are in close contact with a COVID-positive person but are symptom-free do not need to quarantine, according to the school’s health and safety protocols.
Niki Dizon, New Trier’s director of communications, said after officials conducted contract tracing related to each recent positive case the district found no evidence of on-campus transmission of COVID-19.
Dizon said the surge in cases is in line with the transmission rate in the New Trier community, where the rate has doubled over the past nine days, from 164.8 to 329.8 per 100,000 people, according to data from Northwestern University Medicine.
The same data shows that, on a seven-day rolling average, the township is seeing 27.7 new cases per day as of Monday, Dec. 6 — up from 17.9 on Nov. 19.
The positivity rate in township zip codes has moved to 4.06 percent from 3.8 percent on Nov. 14.
The new cases correlate to pandemic-high testing in suburban Cook County, which has counted tens of thousands of tests on average a day with an average positivity rate of 6.5 percent as of Dec. 2. The positivity is the highest in the county since 6.7 percent in July.
New Trier Township’s public feeder districts are also experiencing rises in COVID-19 cases.
Since the first week of November, Glencoe District 35 has recorded 38 new cases (32 involving students) — the most for the district over a four-week span since the pandemic began.
Winnetka District 36 (26 new cases in two weeks), Kenilworth’s Joseph Sears School (16 in four weeks) and Sunset Ridge District 29 (7 in three weeks) are also amid pandemic-high case spikes.
Wilmette District 39 has been enduring a surge since early November and has counted 30 new cases since Nov. 1.
Dizon said New Trier is not currently considering altering any of its mitigation measures but is monitoring the positive cases in its school and within the community.
Officials from a similarly sized school in the western suburbs, Oak Park-River Forest High School, canceled extracurricular activities on Dec. 4 until after winter break. The decision was rescinded four days later and replaced with additional COVID-19 mitigations, according to a report from the Wednesday Journal.
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Joe Coughlin is a co-founder and the editor in chief of The Record. He leads investigative reporting and reports on anything else needed. Joe has been recognized for his investigative reporting and sports reporting, feature writing and photojournalism. Follow Joe on Twitter @joec2319