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All sixth-graders at Orange County school quarantined amid COVID outbreak

An electron microscope image shows coronavirus particles.
An entire sixth-grade class in Yorba Linda was quarantined after a COVID outbreak. A health official said most of those infected weren’t fully vaccinated.
(Hannah A. Bullock/Azaibi Tamin / CDC)

All sixth-graders at an Orange County school were quarantined this week after a COVID-19 outbreak infected dozens of students, the Placentia-Yorba Linda Unified School District said in a news release.

The sixth-graders at Travis Ranch School in Yorba Linda were quarantined for the week beginning Monday after the Orange County Health Care Agency identified cases at the school.

“A majority of these cases involve students in sixth grade, with very few cases taking place among other grade levels and staff members,” the school district wrote in its release. “This has resulted in hundreds of students who have been identified as close contacts.”

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According to school district figures, 53 students and one faculty or staff member at Travis Ranch have tested positive for COVID within the past 14 days.

More cases of the Omicron coronavirus variant are reported in Los Angeles, San Bernardino and Ventura counties as new state mask order takes effect.

Regina Chinsio-Kwong, deputy Orange County health officer, told KABC that most of those infected were either unvaccinated or partially vaccinated.

The students will be provided with Zoom instruction this week, the district said, with a previously scheduled winter break to start next week.

In addition to the quarantine, the district canceled or postponed “large school-sponsored gatherings and programs beyond the instructional day” at Travis Ranch, a K-8 school with nearly 1,400 students. The district also offered free COVID tests to students and families and initiated additional cleaning and sanitizing of the school.

School district officials did not respond to requests for comment Wednesday.

The outbreak at Travis Ranch comes amid fears about the Omicron variant and an overall rise in COVID cases in the state, prompting a statewide, indoor mask mandate that took effect Wednesday. Orange County did not have an indoor mask mandate prior to that.

No significant new coronavirus-related restrictions are planned in Los Angeles County despite the emergence of the Omicron variant.

So far, Omicron has not been reported in Orange County but has been confirmed in Los Angeles, Ventura, San Bernardino and San Diego counties.

Orange County has seen a 15% increase in COVID hospitalizations over the last three weeks, alongside hospitalization spikes of 26% in San Bernardino County, 36% in Riverside County and 47% in San Diego County.


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