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Total of 182 COVID-19 outbreaks at K-12 schools in Washington since last August

Two first grade students talk in the back of class at the Green Mountain School on Feb. 18, 2021 in Woodland, Washington. (Photo by Nathan Howard/Getty Images)

According to a report from the Washington State Department of Health updated at the end of April, there have been 182 reported COVID-19 outbreaks in K-12 schools statewide between Aug. 1, 2020, and March 31, 2021.

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An outbreak in a K-12 school counts as two or more laboratory positive COVID-19 cases among students or staff. The cases must have a symptom onset within a 14-day period of each other, the cases should be epidemiologically linked, should not share a household, and are not identified as close contacts in another setting outside of school.

The 182 reported outbreaks included a total of 708 cases, with 69% of the reported outbreaks involving just two or three cases. Fifty-five percent of the cases were students aged 18 or younger.

The report from the state also includes a breakdown of the outbreaks by county, which occurred across 18 counties between August to March. The smallest outbreak involved two cases, the DOH says, and the largest involved 25.

Spokane County has the highest numbers at 38 outbreaks with 185 associated cases. Stevens and Skagit counties each reported one outbreak with just two associated cases.

Among the schools that reported an outbreak, 47 (26%) were private, and 135 (74%) were public. Five schools reported a fully remote model at the time of the outbreak, 19 were in-person, 31 were in a hybrid model, and 18 were primarily remote with exceptions for some groups of students. The remaining 109 either reported another learning modality or data was unavailable.

Of all the cases, less than 10 were reported to have been hospitalized overnight, and there have been no associated deaths reported. Of the hospitalized cases, 88% were among adult staff.

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The state Department of Health has been updating its report on outbreaks in schools monthly.

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