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Coronavirus in Tampa Bay schools: a weekly update

Nearly 700 cases are confirmed a little more than a month into the school year. Sixth in a series.

About a month into the school year in Tampa Bay, some coronavirus trends are starting to emerge on local campuses.

Total case numbers are climbing week over week. They have gone from a total of 100 cases in the first full week when all four districts had students on campus, to 124, then 144, then 163. This week’s count, at 141, might show a decrease, but does not include Friday’s numbers from Pinellas. The quarantine total is 2909 in Pasco, suggesting roughly 14,000 students and adults across the four counties.

No public schools have been closed entirely according to the reports.

It is also possible to identify zip codes with greater than average activity. Here’s a county by county look:

Hernando County: To date, the school district has reported 40 COVID-19 cases, divided almost evenly between students and staff. Most of the problem this week was at Nature Coast Technical High, which had six of the week’s 10 cases. There also were three cases at D.S. Parrott Middle School and one at Challenger K-8.

Hillsborough County: The count is at 321 since students returned to school.

The busiest zip codes in the Tampa Bay area was 33547, the FishHawk Ranch community, where there have been 30 school-based cases so far this year. Twenty of them were in Newsome High.

Second is 33563 in Plant City with 25 cases, although many of those were in the early part of the month. Affected were Bryan, Jackson, Lincoln and Wilson elementary schools, Marshall and Tomlin middle schools, and Plant City High, which had a case on Friday.

Almost every school in Plant City, including Stonewall Jackson Elementary, has reported at least one case of coronavirus, although the illness was more prevalent in the first half of September. [ Times staff ]

Also of note is 33558 in Lutz, where there have been 20 cases. Fourteen of them were at Steinbrenner High and the others were at Martinez Middle and McKitrick Elementary, which share a campus with Steinbrenner.

There were three cases this week at Alonso High.

There were two cases each at Apollo Beach, Dover and Sheehy elementary schools; Farnell Middle; Dr. Carter G. Woodson K-8; and Bloomingdale, Durant, Plant, Sickles and Spoto high schools. Victory Charter School, which used to be known as Avant Garde, also had two cases.

There was one case each at Bryan, Cannella, Gorrie, Hammond, James, Lamb, Mango, McKitrick, Northwest, Pride, Seminole, Summerfield, Trapnell and Walden Lake elementary schools.

Other campuses with one case each were Mann, Martinez and Pierce middle schools and 11 high schools — East Bay, Freedom, Jefferson, Leto, Middleton, Newsome, Plant City, Robinson, Steinbrenner, Strawberry Crest, and Wharton.

There also was one case at Erwin Technical College and one each at these charter schools: Florida Connections, Hillsborough Academy of Math and Science, Kids Community College Riverview South, Lutz Preparatory, Pepin Academy, SLAM, and Trinity School for Children. The school district office reported one case as well.

Pasco County: There are several high-activity zip codes in Pasco County this year.

In 34638 in Land O’Lakes, there have been 21 cases so far this school year, including 10 at Sunlake High. Also in Land O’Lakes there have been 16 cases in zip code 34639, including eight at Pine View Middle.

In New Port Richey, there have been 17 cases so far in zip code 34654, including at River Ridge High, River Ridge Middle and Schrader Elementary.

In Dade City’s 33525 zip code, 15 cases were spread among Centennial Middle, Centennial Elementary, Pasco Elementary, Pasco Middle and Pasco High.

Fivay High School in Hudson has had three confirmed cases of COVID-19, leading to 56 students being quarantined since the start of the school year. [ Times staff ]

In the Port Richey zip code of 34668, there were 11 cases, including eight at Gulf Highlands Elementary.

There were five cases this week in Pasco’s MySchool Online and three in the Department of Transportation. There were three at Centennial Middle School.

There were two each at Pine View and Seven Springs elementary schools; River Ridge and Thomas E. Weightman middle schools; and River Ridge and Sunlake high schools.

There was one case each at Centennial, Cypress, Gulf Highlands, Lake Myrtle, Northwest, Richey elementary schools; Paul R. Smith Middle; and Anclote, Gulf, Hudson and Land O’Lakes high schools. There was one case at the James Irvin Educational Center.

Pinellas County: Cases are scattered fairly evenly around the county so far. Fourteen have been reported in Largo’s 33773 zip code, although nine of them were in the Pownall administrative complex. There have been 10 in St. Petersburg’s 33710 area, including five at Westgate Elementary, and 13 scattered in 34683 in Palm Harbor.

There were four cases this week at St. Petersburg High.

There were two cases each at Pasadena Fundamental Elementary; Madeira Beach Fundamental K-8; and East Lake, Osceola Fundamental and Palm Harbor University high schools.

There was one case each at Cross Bayou, Cypress Woods, Elisa Nelson, High Point, James B. Sanderlin and Safety Harbor elementary schools; Clearwater Fundamental, Meadowlawn, Pinellas Park and Tarpon Springs middle schools; and Countryside, Hollins and Tarpon Springs high schools.

Clearview Adult Education Center and school district headquarters in Largo also had one case each.

To date, there have been 693 cases across the four counties since school started.

Colleges and universities:

Over the last week, the University of South Florida reported that 52 students and four employees across the school’s three main campuses have tested positive. Cases listed are those that students, faculty or the health department report to the university and those who test positive at the Student Health Center.

Over the same time period, the University of Tampa reported that 45 students and two employees have tested positive. The school also reported 245 of its 312 reported cases from the beginning of the semester have recovered as “symptom free and not contagious.” The cases counted are from those who self-report or are diagnosed at the student health center.

Previous reports:

Staff writer Divya Kumar contributed to this report.

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