The Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS) announced Monday they have implemented emergency measures requiring schools, child care centers and shelters to report outbreaks of COVID-19 to their local health departments.
ADHS officials say the measure applies to public schools, charter schools, and private schools with students from kindergarten through 12th grade, as well as child care establishments and shelters.
Officials say an outbreak is defined as two or more confirmed cases of COVID-19 within a 14-day period among individuals who are epidemiologically linked, do not share a household and are not close contacts of each other in another setting.
Officials say the measure provides the facilities with a required format and the authority for reporting COVID-19 outbreaks to public health within 24 hours of identification.
“This emergency measure addresses the serious threat COVID-19 poses to our communities and allows public health and our schools to work together to keep our kids safe," said Dr. Cara Christ, director of ADHS.
Earlier this month, Arizona health officials released benchmarks to help districts weigh reopening schools. These benchmarks encouraged schools to report an outbreak to health officials. An outbreak is defined as two or more laboratory-confirmed cases of COVID-19 within a 14-day period among individuals who are epidemiologically linked, do not share a household, and are not close contacts of each other in another setting.
This emergency measure gives schools the instructions they need to correctly report cases as we head further into the new academic year," said Superintendent of Public Instruction Kathy Hoffman.
Schools, child care centers and shelters are already required to report to their local health departments cases of communicable diseases, including mumps, measles, and chickenpox.