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UPDATED: 40 Covid-19 infections prompt closure of Mukdahan school

Neill Fronde

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PHOTO: A Mukdahan school was closed after 40 Covid-19 infections were found. (via Nation)
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UPDATE: After earlier reports of an outbreak of 40 Covid-19 infections at Khamsoipitthayasan School in Mukdahan, the Communicable Disease Committee in the province quarantined and tested all 1,202 students and 72 staff and teachers. They took RT-PCR tests at 7 am and all 1,274 tests came back negative, with no confirmed Covid-19 infections.

The whole school had been quarantined at Wat Phu Dan Tae in a field hospital but were released after the surprising results. Officials said they will explain the false positives later, but the incident serves as a clear example of the lesser reliability of antigen tests the students and staff took. The director of the Bureau of Epidemiology commented that antigen tests can produce inaccurate results, which may be why daily Covid-19 reporting does not include results from antigen kits until they are retested with RT-PCR tests.

The parents and teachers at the school were advised to monitor health just in case and to alert health officials in the case of any breathing difficulty, sore throat, fever, runny nose, or cough. If students do turn up infected, the school could close just the class of the infected student while remaining open and operational otherwise.

 

—Original story below:—

Just as schools all over Thailand are getting the okay and reopening to in-class learning, a secondary school in the Northeastern Isan province of Mukdahan has been shut down by provincial public health officials after 40 people were identified with Covid-19 infections.

The school in Nikhom Khamsaoi district was ordered to close yesterday after the outbreak of 40 people in the school tested positive for Covid-19 and public health officers started testing all the students, teachers and staff at the school. The school has a faculty and staff of more than 70 people and a large student population of about 1,200 children.

The school went into lockdown mode by yesterday afternoon, with no one but authorised essential personnel allowed in. Parents who came to pick up their children were met with unsureness as they were not allowed into the locked-down school and it was unclear if and when students would be released. Some brought food and clothes in case students were quarantined overnight or longer.

The school and health officials in Mukdahan did not confirm how many of the 40 infections were students and how many were staff, but they suspect that once everyone is tested, there may be more than 60 people infected with Covid-19 in this cluster. Everyone who tests positive for the virus will be moved to Nikhom Khamsoi Field Hospital for further treatment.

SOURCE: Nation Thailand

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Neill is a journalist from the United States with 10 years broadcasting experience and national news and magazine publications. He graduated with a degree in journalism and communications from the University of California and has been living in Thailand since 2014.

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