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Missouri coronavirus quarantine violation closes schools

Two Catholic schools in suburban St. Louis have temporarily closed and some students at a third school have been told to stay home after the father of the first person in Missouri to become ill with the coronavirus attended a dance with another child.

Amtrak also is cleaning a train the ill woman took to Missouri from Chicago.

St. Louis County Executive Sam Page said at a news conference the patient’s family was told Thursday to self quarantine at their home in Ladue but didn’t follow health department instructions, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports.

Villa Duchesne and Oak Hill School in Frontenac said in a message to parents that the father and sister of the infected patient attended the father-daughter dance Saturday night at the Ritz-Carlton in Clayton. They also apparently attended a pre-dance gathering at the house of a Villa student.

Page said health officials have told the man that “that he must remain in his home or they will issue a formal quarantine that will require him and the rest of his family to stay in their home by the force of law.”

His daughter, who is in her 20s, tested positive for coronavirus after returning home from Italy, which has been the epicenter of Europe’s outbreak of the virus that causes COVID-19. The woman attends an out-of-state school and had been studying abroad.

The message from Villa, an all-girls school for seventh- to 12th-graders, and Oak Hill, which serves coed preschoolers through sixth-graders, advises students and parents who attended the dance to be attentive to symptoms.

Meanwhile, John Burroughs School head Andy Abbott said in an email that a “handful” of high school seniors who gathered at the house where the pre-dance event had been held were asked not to attend the private school in Ladue until more information is available. The family who lives at that house that hosted the event includes children who attend Villa and Burroughs.

Abbott, however, stressed that the likelihood of any students from the school contracting the virus was “extraordinarily low.”

Before seeking treatment, the Missouri woman with the positive test flew into Chicago O’Hare International Airport on Monday, stayed with a friend, then took an Amtrak train home to St. Louis on Wednesday, according to Doug Moore, spokesman for Page.

Amtrak said in a news release that is notifying passengers and employees who were on Amtrak train 303 with the woman. The release said that as a precaution, the train also has been taken out of service for comprehensive cleaning. The train stations in Chicago and St. Louis also are being cleaned.

The process of determining who needs to be notified, checked for symptoms and tested is unfolding, said Spring Schmidt, acting co-director of the county health department.

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