Schools have larger COVID-19 exposure risk than bars and restaurants says IDPH

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ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — The Illinois Department of Health admits in Region 1, bars and restaurants aren’t the largest potential exposure locations.

Contact tracing data from IDPH shows statewide, bars and restaurants are the most common potential location of exposure for people who test positive for COVID-19. However, in Region 1 schools top the list.

Bars and restaurants came in as the fourth most common potential location of exposure in the region.

IDPH

“If we want to get these numbers down, I don’t see how that happens without schools closing,” said Scott Frank, the owner of Ciao Bella Kitchen.

Scott Frank says the data proves schools, not just restaurants and bars, should be required to close if Region 1 wants to keep COVID-19 in check.

“If we’re going to play these Covid games and the number of 8% that triggered this latest shutdown, to getting below 6.5% to lift the restrictions, as a business owner then, I want everything closed. Because the longer that this goes on, the longer the bar and restaurant industry is punished,” Frank said.

Last week, rising number of cases among students in faculty prompted the Freeport School District to transition all schools to full remote learning through November 30th.

Superintendent Anna Alvarado says while it was a difficult decision to make, staffing concerns ultimately forced the district’s hand.

“One person who gets infected with the virus, the contact tracing could wipe out an entire classroom. It could eliminate a number of staff who could be in school working. I can’t run a school without a principal, assistant principal, [or] social worker,” Alvarado said.

Alvarado says she’s hoping to resume in-person learning after Thanksgiving but agrees that keeping people healthy needs to be the top priority right now.

“We would like kids to come back. But I’m not the only factor here. We have to make sure we minimize the spread of the virus,” she added.

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