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October 6, 2021 - 2:01pm

NYS COVID Report Card reveals 22 on list of 'new positives' in schools; County to offer telehealth services

posted by Mike Pettinella in news, notify, COVID-19, health department.

Twenty-two students, teachers and staff at Genesee County school districts are listed as “new positives” as of Tuesday on New York State’s COVID Report Card dashboard.

Of that number, 15 are students, three are teachers and four are staff members, and of the students, five are in the Batavia City School District, four in Le Roy and Oakfield-Alabama and one in Pavilion and Pembroke.

The numbers also include two Elba teachers and one Pavilion teacher, and three Le Roy employees and one O-A employee.

Since Sept. 13, however, per data reported by the individual schools, 174 students, teachers and staff have tested positive for the coronavirus, with 74 of those at Batavia and 50 at Le Roy – the county’s two largest schools.

At Batavia, 69 of those 74 are students, while three are teachers and two are staff members. At Le Roy, 38 of those 50 are students, while one is a teacher and 11 are staff members.

Breaking down those numbers further:

  • From Sept. 22 to Oct. 5, Batavia – 45 students, one teacher, two staff; Le Roy – 24 students, no teachers, 10 staff.
  • From Sept. 29 to Oct. 5, Batavia – 26 students, one teacher, two staff; Le Roy – nine students, no teachers and nine staff.

COVID-19 positives are low at other school districts, with Alexander reporting no cases at all since Sept. 13 and Notre Dame just two – with none in the last 14 or seven days.

Data from other schools is as follows:

  • Byron-Bergen: 15 students, two teachers, one staff since Sept. 13; five students, no teachers, one staff from Sept. 22 through Oct. 5; four students, no teachers, one staff from Sept. 29 through Oct. 5.
  • Elba: No students, two teachers, no staff for all reporting dates.
  • Oakfield-Alabama: 15 students, no teachers, two staff since Sept. 13; 11 students, no teachers, two staff from Sept. 22 through Oct. 5; five students, no teachers, two staff from Sept. 29 through Oct. 5.
  • Pavilion: Three students, one teacher, no staff since Sept. 13; two students, one teachers, no staff from Sept. 22 through Oct. 5; one student, one teacher, no staff from Sept. 29 through Oct. 5.
  • Pembroke: Five students, two teachers, no staff since Sept. 13; three students, two teachers, no staff from Sept. 22 through Oct. 5; two students, two teachers, no staff from Sept. 29 through Oct. 5.

COUNTY OFFERING TELEHEALTH TO SCHOOLS

In an effort to make it easier for school districts to interact with health care professionals, the Genesee County Health Department, as part of its comprehensive COVID testing plan, has set up a contract with Mobile TeleMed LLC of Buffalo to provide in-school telehealth sessions at no charge to school districts through July 2022.

“Schools that want to participate will be able to have a Telehealth cart down at the nurses’ office where students and/or staff come down and engage with varying levels,” Public Health Director Paul Pettit said.

“It could be a lower level, an RN (Registered Nurse), or mid-level, an NP (Nurse Practitioner), PA (Physician’s Assistant) or even a physician, where they can have that engagement in real time, on site, through the Telecart, and they can provide potentially a diagnosis, whether it’s COVID, along with on-site testing. There are a lot of ways they can leverage that relationship right at school.”

Pettit said this program could take the place of parents having to go to the doctor’s office after they get out of work or go to urgent care centers.

“We’re pretty confident that this type of technology will help us to avoid some of those unnecessary visits and allowed it to be taken care of right on site,” he said.

Pettit said Le Roy Central School district is very interested in participating.

 “We need the schools to sign on. We believe that Le Roy is very close. We’ve been working with them and have a couple of carts there.”

Le Roy Superintendent Merritt Holly confirmed that the district is “exploring the possibility and how we can further assist and help our students and families.”

The program is being funded by a grant to the health department, Pettit said, adding that the school district will contract directly with TeleMed, which will handle billing to the students’ family. Parents would need to sign consent forms for their children to access the videoconference technology.

“My hope is that this will be a sustainable access to care beyond COVID,” Pettit said. “Obviously, they (schools) would have to fund it after that point (after July 31, 2022). If the school found value in continuing to have something like this for their staff and their students, they could continue on past our grant funds. They’d already have the relationship and they could continue to use it as a way to engage health care.”

Fees (which will be paid for by the grant for through next July) are as follows:

  • Base pricing per district is $1,200 per cart per month, plus $500 for training and implementation.
  • Small school pricing is set at $2 per district student per month, starting at a minimum cost of $800 per month plus the $500 training and implementation charge.

Pettit said COVID testing is taking place in local schools, with testing kits provided by the county.

The Genesee County Legislature is expected to vote on the contract with Mobile TeleMed at its Oct. 13th meeting.

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Update, Oct. 7, 9 a.m.:

A check of the NYS COVID Report Card this morning reveals that under the Lab Reported category, Alexander Central School District has had an estimated 18 positive cases among students since Sept. 1, 14 from Sept. 23-Oct. 6, nine from Sept. 30-Oct. 6, and one since Oct. 6. Lab Reported numbers and School Reported numbers can vary. As indicated in the story above, Alexander CSD apparently did not report positive cases to the state Department of Health or its report was not received.

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