RENO, Nev. - A total of 80 students were exposed to COVID-19 in Washoe County, Nevada after a parent knowingly sent their child to school just two days after they tested positive for the virus, according to the Washoe County Health District.
The child, who is a student at Marce Herz Middle School in Reno, Nevada, tested positive for COVID-19 on Aug. 6 and came to school on Aug. 9, according to the health district.
It is unknown if any of the children exposed were infected.
"We had a situation during this investigation where a parent refused to communicate with our staff. This led to a presumably-infectious child attending school two days after being notified of a positive COVID-19 test result. The parent, who also tested positive for COVID-19, also refused to communicate with the school," according to a health district statement sent out to parents.
FILE - Students make their way to class for the first day of school at Tustin Ranch Elementary School in Tustin, Calif. on Wednesday, Aug. 11, 2021. (Paul Bersebach/MediaNews Group/Orange County Register via Getty Images)
"We are not seeking to invest our limited resources in bringing charges against the parent at this time. We are seeking cooperation from our community members," the statement concluded.
All 80 students who were exposed, as well as the student who was sent to school with COVID-19, are quarantining at home, according to a school district spokesperson.
All students and staff are required to wear masks in Washoe County, the health district confirmed.
Health officials in northern Nevada say current coronavirus trends mirror those that led to some of the worst of the pandemic and foresee the possibility of closing schools or limiting business capacities again if the steep trajectory of new cases doesn’t begin to flatten soon.
Test positivity, a benchmark measure of community spread of the virus, has risen in Nevada from a low of 3.4% in mid-May to 16.3% on Aug. 9.
Driven primarily by the spread of the delta variant, Washoe County Health District Officer Kevin Dick said the positivity rate in the Reno-Sparks area has risen from 5% in mid-July to 15.4% on Aug. 10.
The seven-day average of 150 new daily cases in Washoe County is more than six times what it was on July 9, and hospitalizations have quadrupled to the current 120, Dick said.
"I think what we are seeing with the delta variant is alarming," Dick told reporters Aug. 10.
"If you look at the increase in cases that we’ve seen in a little over a month as this has taken off. It looks an awful lot like how we were increasing during October going into November," he said about the peak surge that reached an average of 481 new daily cases.
"We’re currently are at about a third of the level of our peak during that November surge, so our cases are rising rapidly. And that’s why we must act now and respect one another and the governor’s mask mandate... so we can try to keep those numbers down," he said.
As of Aug. 4, 40 COVID-19 deaths had been reported statewide among the more than 1.5 million Nevadans who have been fully vaccinated, state health officials said.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.