Despite local connections, no known cases at O-High
On Monday, March 9, the Grand Princess cruise ship docked at the Port of Oakland amid a discovery of at least 20 cases of the COVID-19 coronavirus on board. Those on board prepared for a 14-day quarantine on the ship or at hospitals or other centers to prevent the spread of the virus, according to an article from AP News.
In California, there have been 133 cases of the virus along with one death, according to the California Department of Health’s website on March 9.
“I’m not that worried about it,” said Spencer Ruiz, a PLTW sophomore. “We have strong immune systems, and the virus is only dangerous to those with immunocompromised systems, like old people.”
The coronavirus outbreak, which started in the city of Wuhan, China, in December 2019, has infected over 110,000 people and killed over 4,000 in more than 110 countries worldwide as of March 10, according to a live coronavirus map created by Johns Hopkins University.
According to Sherry Kassenbrock, Oakland High’s credentialed school nurse, Alameda County has declared a local health emergency, which will allow the public health department to prepare by being able to gain more funding for more medical equipment and protection like face masks. Kassenbrock added that schools from around the world have also prepared electronic lesson plans for students to work on while they stay home to limit the virus spreading.
School districts across the country, including in the states of Washington, New York, and Pennsylvania, have closed temporarily to restrict the spread of the virus.
To keep everything under control, Kassenbrock recommended that, “We should wash our hands frequently for around 20 seconds each, cover our coughs, stay at home if you’re sick, and call a doctor to talk about your symptoms to let the medical staff prepare for if you have the coronavirus.”
Another major recommendation that Kassenbrock made is to not cause hysteria and panic and to not single out people due to the coronavirus. She said the outbreak can be easily handled if everyone takes the proper actions.
“We have found out that it doesn’t affect the young in ways that we previously thought. It has mainly affected adults and the elderly, so we’ll be fine if we take the right precautions,” said Kassenbrock.
According to a letter sent by principal Matin Abdel-Qawi on March 11, one student may have been exposed to someone who has the coronavirus. However, this is not a confirmed case, and the student has placed themselves under quarantine.
Oakland High remains open.