Missouri school is closed after the father of the state’s first coronavirus patient broke self quarantine so he could attend a dance with his younger daughter and her classmates

Monday, March 9, 2020
By Paul Martin

A woman, in her 20s, tested positive for coronavirus after returning from Italy
Her family was told to self-quarantine for 14 days after she started showing symptoms on Thursday
But her father attended a father-daughter dance held by his other child’s school on Saturday
Villa Duchesne and Oak Hill School closed to ‘seek advice’ from health officials

9 March 2020

The father of a Missouri woman who tested positive for coronavirus violated self-quarantine rules to attend a school dance with his younger daughter.

The family, from St Louis, were asked to self-isolate by health officials on March 5 after the woman, in her 20s, called the county’s health hotline to report a high fever and cough.

She was then tested for COVID-19, and the results came back positive the next day.

It comes as the number of positive coronavirus cases in the U.S. climbed to more than 600, and the death toll climbed to 22.

The St Louis woman, who had recently returned to after studying in Italy, is believed to be the first person in the region to test positive for the virus.

Despite the instruction to self-isolate, the patient’s father attended a father-daughter dinner dance hosted by the Villa Duchesne and Oak Hill School at the Ritz-Carlton in Clayton with his younger child on Saturday.

The school has since informed parents of its decision to close today in order to ‘gather information and guidance from health officials’.

In a letter to parents, school officials said the father and daughter didn’t learn about the diagnosis until they were already at the dance, which was scheduled to begin at 6.30pm.

The family members immediately left once notified.

In a statement on Sunday, St. Louis County Executive Sam Page said the coronavirus patient’s father ‘did not act consistently with the health department’s instructions and instead … he decided to take his daughter to a school function.’

He added that the county health department sent the family a letter on Sunday informing them they must follow its guidelines, St Louis Public Radio reported.

The quarantine, which applies to all members of the family, is expected to last 14 days after the patient has stopped showing any symptoms of COVID-19.

Page added: ‘The way the family has reacted to this situation is really a tale of two reactions and a study of how people should and should not react to the coronavirus.

‘The patient had conducted herself responsibly and maturely, and she is to be commended for complying with the health department’s instructions.’

Villa Duchesne and Oak Hill School is urging students and parents who attended the dance on Saturday to seek medical treatment and to notify the school if they begin to display any symptoms of the virus.

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