Teacher in Oakland positive for virus, county officials say

Christine MacDonald
The Detroit News

Oakland County officials said one of the individuals identified Thursday night to have the coronavirus was a teacher at a small school in the county. 

The Washtenaw County resident attended school Monday and interacted with students and staff, said Oakland County Medical Director Russell Faust. Those individuals have self-isolated and those who were exposed to the teacher are being tested. 

Faust would not identify the school, saying the individuals exposed are aware and he didn't want to violate privacy laws.

"We are about notifying the folks who have been exposed," Faust said at a Friday morning press conference. 

Officials with the Hillel Day School of Metropolitan Detroit in Farmington Hills Friday confirmed one of its teachers has been diagnoses with a case of COVID-19.

"The teacher tested positive for the virus following domestic travel," they said in a statement. "A resident of Washtenaw County, the teacher is at home and recovering."

The school said it confirmed the case late Thursday and immediately decided to close the school Friday until further notice. It will institute remote learning for all students.

Students and colleagues of the teacher will self-quarantine until March 23.

“He is a beloved and valued member of our school community, a teacher whose dynamic classroom is always filled with positive energy," the school said. "We wish him and all those affected a speedy recovery.”

The county started investigating that case at midnight Thursday. There are a total of three cases as of Friday morning in the county. One person did not have a history of travel, which officials said shows the virus is in the community. 

Officials also summarized a series of steps taken or planned to protect the public, including declaring an emergency, expanding the county's emergency operations center and plans to issue several health orders Friday afternoon. One would restrict visitors at senior living centers. Oakland County Executive David Coulter said they want to strongly encourage compliance. 

"We aren’t looking to fill up our jails with people trying to visit their grandparents," Coulter said.

Also a hotline has been set up for residents' questions at 248-858-1000 that will be staffed daily from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Oakland County health officials issued a list of dates and locations early Friday morning as a part of an effort to identify close contacts of three Oakland County men who have tested positive for the coronavirus.

State officials confirmed Thursday night that 10 new individuals have tested positive, bringing the statewide total to 12 and triggering the closure of the state's K-12 schools and prompting colleges and universities to suspend in-person classes.

Staff writer Charles E. Ramirez contributed.