Missouri coronavirus quarantine violation closes schools
Two Catholic schools in suburban St. Louis have temporarily closed after the father of the first person in Missouri to become ill with the coronavirus attended a dance and Amtrak is notifying those aboard a train the ill woman took home last week from Chicago about her diagnosis.
St. Louis County Executive Sam Page said at a news conference Sunday that the patient's family was told on Thursday to self quarantine at their home in Ladue but didn't follow health department instructions, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports.
Villa Duchesne and Oak Hill School in Frontenac said in a message to parents that the father and sister of the infected patient attended the father-daughter dance Saturday night at the Ritz-Carlton in Clayton. KSDK reports that they left when they learned about the positive result, which was announced Saturday.
They also apparently attended a pre-dance gathering at the house of a family whose children attend Villa and the private John Burroughs School in Ladue. John Burroughs School head Andy Abbott said Monday that a small number of Burroughs students went to the home after the father and daughter left, according to information posted on the school's website. Although the students had no direct exposure, they won't won't be allowed to return to school for two weeks, a period when they would have been home part of the time anyway because of spring break.
Page said health officials have told the father "that he must remain in his home or they will issue a formal quarantine that will require him and the rest of his family to stay in their home by the force of law."
His daughter, who is in her 20s, tested positive for coronavirus after returning home from Italy, which has been the epicenter of Europe's outbreak of the virus that causes COVID-19. The woman attends an out-of-state school and had been studying abroad.
Before seeking treatment, the woman flew into Chicago O'Hare International Airport on March 2, stayed with a friend, then took an Amtrak train home to St. Louis on Wednesday, according to Doug Moore, spokesman for Page.
Because she was starting to feel ill, the woman contacted the St. Louis County Department of Public Health on Thursday, Moore said. She apparently stayed home and did not have contact with anyone until she was instructed on Friday to go to Mercy Hospital in Creve Coeur for testing.
The message from Villa, an all-girls school for seventh- to 12th-graders, and Oak Hill, which serves coed preschoolers through sixth-graders, advises students and parents who attended the dance to be attentive to symptoms.
Amtrak said in a news release that it is notifying passengers and employees who were on Amtrak train 303 with the woman. The release said that as a precaution, the train also has been taken out of service for comprehensive cleaning. The train stations in Chicago and St. Louis also are being cleaned.
Amtrak, Moore and an official for Villa Duchesne and Oak Hill School didn't immediately return phone messages from The Associated Press inquiring about how many people may have been exposed.
The process of determining who needs to be notified, checked for symptoms and tested is unfolding, said Spring Schmidt, acting co-director of the county health department.
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