Local schools organize COVID testing throughout week; New Trier counts 100 current COVID cases on first day back
To get an idea of how the winter surge of COVID-19 is affecting their communities, New Trier Township elementary school districts are hosting testing clinics all week.
The districts are partnering with NorthShore Clinical Labs on the events that will operate after school from 4-8 p.m. on Wednesday through Friday, Jan. 5-7, at Marie Murphy Junior High in Wilmette. Because of demand for the testing — the first three dates are booked — organizers added an additional date, Saturday, Jan. 8, from 9 a.m.-2 p.m.
The testing site can test 85 individuals in one hour, meaning over the course of the four days about 1,700 COVID-19 tests can be administered.
Avoca District 37 Superintendent Dr. Kaine Osburn said the clinics were designed for area students, school staffers and parents, but officials are “not going to turn anyone away who signed up.”
Osburn said the testing event begins Wednesday based on the advice of medical professionals in an effort to potentially catch more positive cases post winter break.
Avoca and other area districts, including New Trier High School D203, returned to in-person learning on Monday, Jan. 3. The positivity rate for New Trier Township communities’ on Monday, Jan. 3, climbed to a seven-day average of 15.26 percent, according to data from Northwestern Medical.
New Trier reported on Jan. 3 more than 100 positive COVID-19 cases between students and staff members for the first time in the pandemic. The number was 65 before break began on Thursday, Dec. 17, when the area’s positivity rate was below 5 percent.
The data shows that New Trier communities are seeing an average of 91 new cases per day, which makes for a weekly new-case rate of 1,084.2 cases per 100,000 people.
According to New Trier High School, 93 percent of its staff members and 92 percent of its students are vaccinated.
While there are 110 known positive cases to students and staff, New Trier High School can expect more as all New Trier students and staffers are required to undergo Shield COVID-19 testing between Monday and Thursday, Jan. 3-6.
Prior to the break, New Trier initiated a pause in intramural activity and announced the additional, post-break testing protocol.
Starting next week, Monday, Jan. 10, any student involved in extracurricular athletics, including intramurals and Special Olympics, must under COVID testing on a weekly basis.
The district will also host a COVID-19 booster clinic from 3-8 p.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 12, in the student cafeteria on the Northfield campus, 7 Happ Road. A booster of the Pfizer vaccine will be administered at the clinic, which can be attended by any eligible individual, according to a letter from New Trier officials.
Interested individuals can register for the clinic online, and anyone under the age of 18 needs to be with a parent or guardian. To attend the clinic, people must complete a patient consent form and bring an ID, insurance card — or copies of each — and vaccination card.
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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