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More than 200 Howard students and staff members have tested positive for COVID since start of school year

More than 200 staff members and students in the Howard County Public School System have tested positive for COVID-19 since the start of the school year, according to a school system official.

Since Aug. 30, 172 of the system’s more than 57,600 enrolled students have tested positive for the coronavirus, while 30 staff members have tested positive, Chief Administrative Officer Jahantab Siddiqui said Wednesday.

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As of Tuesday, 957 students and 38 staff members are in quarantine due to a positive COVID-19 test or close contact, according to the school system’s COVID-19 dashboard.

Quarantine or close contact does not indicate those staff or students have tested positive for COVID-19. Students who need to quarantine will receive learning support while they are out of the school building.

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This week so far, there have been 15 cases in elementary schools, 13 cases in middle schools, two cases in high schools, one in the system’s Logistics Center and one in the Applications and Research Lab.

Between Sept. 16 and 22, there have been 31 positive COVID-19 cases in elementary schools, 16 cases in middle schools, four cases in high schools, one case in the system’s Logistics Center and one case in the Applications and Research Lab, according to the dashboard.

The county has reported 21,544 cases and 262 deaths since the beginning of the pandemic in March 2020, according to the Maryland Department of Health.

As of Wednesday, Howard County has a seven-day average positivity rate of 2.85% and a seven-day average confirmed case rate of 12.02 per 100,000 people, state data shows.

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Howard also has the highest number of fully vaccinated residents at 71.5% of its total population, followed by Montgomery County at 68.2%, Talbot at 64%, Frederick at 62.6% and Carroll at 61.7%. Howard is requiring all full- and part-time school system employees to submit proof of vaccination or undergo weekly testing

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