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EL CENTRO — One of the two most recent patients confirmed to have tested positive for novel coronavirus (COVID-19) is a staff member at Southwest High School, the Central Union High School District announced Sunday in a release.

The Imperial County Public Health Department announced late Saturday that two additional patients in the County had tested positive for COVID-19. The patients were described as a couple who “were exposed to a confirmed COVID-19 case while traveling outside of the United States.”

The individuals, who represent the county’s fifth and sixth cases of COVID-19, were not hospitalized and are home in isolation, the health department said.

News that one of the patients is employed at Southwest came Sunday afternoon.

“Late last night, March 21, the Central Union High School District was informed that a staff member at Southwest High School has tested positive for COVID-19,” CUHSD said. “This employee, who is not a classroom teacher and has only limited interaction with students, last worked on Thursday, March 19. This employee first experienced symptoms on Friday, March 20, and did not report to work that day.”

The district, citing federal health privacy law, said additional information about the employee would not be provided. The release said Central Union High School District is in full cooperation with the ICPHD staff and in fulfilling workplace requirements.

“We understand this is a stressful situation for everyone,” CUHSD said. “We are vigilant about working with county public health department officials to investigate all reported and suspected cases of COVID-19. If at any time you have a fever, cough, and shortness of breath, public health officials request that you please contact your primary care provider for further guidance.”

The release said local school districts will do their best to continue to report any staff-related results to the public “as we are trying to be as transparent as possible during these uncertain times.”

County public health officials expect more positive tests in the days ahead.

“Public health staff is working around the clock with our healthcare providers to make sure those who meet the criteria for testing are able to access the test,” said Public Health Officer Dr. Stephen Munday. “I cannot stress enough the importance of following the governor’s orders to stay home and practice social distancing to prevent the spread of COVID-19 to others.”

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