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Coronavirus in Tampa Bay schools: a weekly update

Case counts are topping 300 a week. The total is approaching 2,000 with some 31,000 students and staff having experienced quarantine.

When the Tampa Bay Times began counting coronavirus cases in schools, the weekly four-county total was hovering around 120.

Those numbers crept up steadily and for the week that just passed, it will be well past 300 when the final reports arrive on Monday.

Hillsborough, Pinellas and Pasco are seeing as many as four or five cases in a single day in a single school. Only Hernando, by far the smallest of the counties, continues to show little known illness.

All of this is happening as local school districts await word from the state about what they can offer students in the way of distance learning in the second semester. Between 40 and 50 percent of students now learn virtually, allowing schools to limit crowded conditions, which helps contain the disease.

The Tampa Bay area experienced its first known COVID-19 teacher fatality on Tuesday. By all accounts, Michael Wanner, 61, contracted the virus outside school, went on quarantine and never returned. Plant City High School, where he taught science, has had a relatively low number of reported cases at 14.

Here is the county-by-county case breakdown for the past week:

Hernando County: The district’s five cases this week were in Spring Hill Elementary, which had two; and one each at Weeki Wachee High, Central High, and Explorer K-8.

Hillsborough County: Monday was an extraordinary day for Hillsborough reports, with 56 cases. Things slowed down, but by week’s end there had been a total of 177 cases including the weekend of Oct. 31 and Nov. 1.

There were 11 cases over the course of four days at Sickles High in Citrus Park. All were students.

Steinbrenner and Sumner high schools were close behind Sickles, each with 10 cases. Alonso had nine.

There were seven cases at Plant High and six cases at Newsome High.

Trinity School For Children, a charter school, reported five cases on Thursday.

There were four cases each at Oak Grove Elementary, Webb Middle, Jefferson High and in the district offices.

These schools had three cases each: Riverhills and Mabry elementary schools; Coleman, Farnell, Mulrennan and Walker middle schools; and Pepin Academies.

These schools had two cases each: Grady, Northwest and Yates elementary schools; Barrington Middle School; Blake, Chamberlain, Durant, Hillsborough, Lennard and Robinson high schools; Maniscalco and Turner-Bartels K-8 schools; and Bridgeprep Academy of Tampa.

These schools had one case each: Belmont, Bevis, Bryan, Bryant, Burney, Carrollwood, Clark, Cypress Creek, Deer Park, Dover, Dunbar, Kenly, Lithia Springs, Lockhart, Lowry, McDonald, McKitrick, Muller, Oak Park, Pride, Riverview, Robinson, Roosevelt, Summerfield, Summerfield Crossings, Tampa Heights, Tampa Palms, Trapnell and B.T. Washington elementary schools.

These schools also had one case each: Benito, Davidsen, Giunta, Hill, Jennings, Liberty, Pierce, Smith, Sligh, Tomlin, Williams and Wilson middle schools; Bloomingdale, East Bay, Freedom, Spoto and Strawberry Crest high schools; Lutz K-8, and these charter schools: Florida Autism, Florida Connections, Learning Gate, New Springs, RCMA Wimauma, SLAM Apollo Beach and Woodmont.

Two coronavirus cases were reported at Hillsborough High School on Wednesday.
Two coronavirus cases were reported at Hillsborough High School on Wednesday. [ MARTHA ASENCIO RHINE | Times ]

Pasco County: This is the only county that releases quarantine statistics to the public, and to date there have been 6,378 students and employees affected by 426 cases. With about 18 percent of the area’s population in Pasco, those numbers suggest that some 31,000 students and staff have experienced quarantine across the four counties since classes resumed on Aug. 24

Eight of this week’s cases were among distance-learning students. There were seven cases each at Cypress Creek High School and Pine View Middle School. There were six cases each at Seven Springs Middle School, and at Wiregrass Ranch and Zephyrhills high schools.

The Oct. 30 football game between Sickles and J.W. MItchell high schools. Sickles reported 11 cases of coronavirus this past week. Mitchell had four.
The Oct. 30 football game between Sickles and J.W. MItchell high schools. Sickles reported 11 cases of coronavirus this past week. Mitchell had four. [ Twitter ]

There were four cases each at Seven Oaks and Shady Hills elementary schools and at J.W. Mitchell High. There were three cases each at Land O’Lakes and Wesley Chapel high schools.

These schools had two cases each: Odessa Elementary; Centennial, John Long and R.B. Stewart middle schools; Gulf, Pasco and Wendell Krinn Technical high schools; and Marchman Technical College.

These schools had one cases each: Calusa, Gulf Highlands, Longleaf, Mittye P. Locke, Northwest, Quail Hollow, Sand Pine, Sanders Memorial, Schrader, Trinity Oaks, Watergrass, Wesley Chapel, West Zephyrhills and Wiregrass elementary schools; Bayonet Point, Hudson and Thomas E. Weightman middle schools; and Anclote, Fivay and River Ridge high schools.

Pinellas County: Daily case counts, as in the other counties, have roughly doubled in Pinellas since students returned on Aug. 24. With only four days in for the week, here is how they broke down:

Pinellas Park High and Sutherland Elementary each had three cases.

These schools had two cases each: Curlew Creek, High Point, Oakhurst, Ozona and Ridgecrest elementary schools; Carwise and Palm Harbor middle schools; Hollins and Palm Harbor University high schools; and Plato Academy Pinellas Park Charter.

Carwise Middle School in Palm Harbor reported two cases of coronavirus this week. [CHRIS URSO  |   Times]
Carwise Middle School in Palm Harbor reported two cases of coronavirus this week. [CHRIS URSO | Times]

These schools had one case each: Azalea, Bauder, Bay Point, Fairmount Park, Lakewood, Sexton, Skyview and Southern Oak elementary schools; Azalea, East Lake, Osceola, Safety Harbor and Tyrone middle schools; Bayside, East Lake, Northeast and Seminole high schools; Pinellas Gulf Coast Academy and Plato Academy Palm Harbor Charter.

The total for the week for all four counties, K-12, was 321, not including Friday’s cases in Pinellas. The total to date is 1,908.

Colleges and universities:

Since Oct. 25, the University of South Florida reported that 60 students and nine employees across the school’s 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.

Since Oct. 30, the University of Tampa reported that 54 students had tested positive. The school also reported 634 of its 755 reported cases from the beginning of the semester have recovered as “symptom free and not contagious.” These cases are those who self-report or are diagnosed at the student health center.

Over the same period, St. Petersburg College reported eight cases across its 13 campuses and Hillsborough Community College reported 11 cases across its four campuses. Eckerd College reported no active cases of residential students this week.

Previous reports:

Week ending Aug. 28

Week ending Sept. 4

Week ending Sept. 11

Week ending Sept. 18

Week ending Sept. 25

Week ending Oct. 4

Week ending Oct. 11

Week ending Oct. 18

Week ending Oct. 23

Week ending Oct, 30