Manatee County schools see significant decline in COVID-19 cases, 0 new cases reported Wednesday


MANATEE COUNTY (WFLA) – COVID-19 case counts in schools across the Tampa Bay area are trending down. Wednesday, the School District of Manatee County saw no new reported cases among students and staff.

Just a short while ago, the district was experiencing a surge in COVID-19 cases. Between Aug. 10 and Sept. 30, the district was averaging around 150+ positive cases a day, sending an additional 300-500 students into quarantine daily. Those numbers were staggering to many families at the time after seeing numbers between 20-30 cases a day around the same timeframe in 2020.

It appears cases are moving in the right direction as the busy holiday season approaches. Manatee County schools are now reporting about 1-2 positive cases a day. This month, they’ve seen four days with 0 cases to report.

“I think it is a credit to our staff, our teachers, parents and students all working together to really follow all the COVID protocols, follow all the CDC guidance and the DOH guidance,” said Chief of Staff Kevin Chapman.

The District Operations Center is still staffed and working to handle any cases on a day-to-day basis.

“Our number one priority is still the health, safety and welfare of all of our students and employees. We are still reminding our employees and parents and students about the protocols and about staying home when you are sick. We still clean our classrooms and schools every day and still are staying vigilant. As long as we keep doing that, I think we’re gonna have a great school year,” said Chapman.

Officials with the Florida Department of Health in Manatee County are urging families not to get complacent.

“I am hoping that people aren’t going to take these lower numbers in the schools as the greenlight to say ‘OK well we don’t need to vaccinate our children.’ You really do because we are just surmising that that is the case,” explained Christopher Tittel. “Getting your child vaccinated is the best way to make sure that they are not going to suffer the ravages of COVID. If they happen to get it, it is going to help protect their health,” he continued.

As for families with students in the district, they’re hoping this is a turning point in the pandemic.

“I am feeling more positive just with now the kids being able to get vaccinated. It definitely feels like a big turning point. Both my kids were vaccinated on Sunday.*We are about five weeks from being fully vaccinated so it definitely feels like a big relief,” said mother Jessica Patterson.

For vaccination information in Manatee County, click here.

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