Helena student tests positive for COVID-19

Published 4:22 pm Wednesday, March 18, 2020

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By ALEC ETHEREDGE | Managing Editor 

A student at Helena High School has recently tested positive for COVID-19 (Coronavirus) according to the mother in a Facebook post as well as a release from Shelby County Schools Superintendent Dr. Lewis Brooks.

This marks the third Shelby County Schools student to have tested positive for the virus after one at Oak Mountain Intermediate or Elementary, one at Calera High School and now Helena High School.

“We have been contacted by a parent of one of our students who has reported a positive case of COVID-19,” the release from Brooks said. “While it is unknown when this student contracted the virus, the family is self-isolating.”

The student is a 16-year-old student at the high school, but also has a sibling in seventh grade at the middle school.

Shelby County Schools urged everyone to be aware that they may have been exposed to the virus and to be aware of symptoms.

“Out of an abundance of caution for the entire community, we are notifying all Helena schools of possible exposure to COVID-19,” Brooks’ release read.

The release went on to encourage those who do attend the school to monitor themselves and family for fever, cough, body aches and shortness of breath.

If you should develop one or more of those symptoms, you’re urged to call your doctor or urgent care for guidance. If shortness of breath is severe, you’re encouraged to seek emergency treatment via an emergency department, but should call ahead, or you can call 911 where you should make them aware of your exposure.

Helena Mayor Mark Hall also reacted to the information on his Facebook page.

“I have been notified by our Superintendent, Dr. Lewis Brooks that a Helena High School student has been reported as testing positive for COVID-19, as most of you may have already known,” he said. “The family and student are self-isolating until official confirmation comes to them from the ADPH.”

Hall was also proud of the family for how they handled the situation.

“I applaud the family of this student for taking the right steps by notifying others very quickly of the situation so that any close contacts could begin steps to mitigate their exposure as well,” Hall said. “I also want to wish the student a fast and complete recovery.”

With the development, Brooks and Hall reiterated that Helena schools will be deep cleaned and sanitized before schools go back to normal operations.

Hall also shared what residents should do to help stop the spread of the virus.

“I want to emphasize again how important it is to follow the guidelines regarding exposure or symptoms during this time,” he said. “Social distancing is absolutely critical at this point so that those that may already have the virus, and not even be aware, cannot spread it to others. There is absolutely no need for panic, but there is an absolute need for action.”

If you think you have been exposed or have symptoms, please isolate and call your doctor or nearest medical facility for guidance or call the Alabama Department of Public Health hotline at 1-888-264-2256.