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CPS: District Has Completed 470,000 COVID Tests, Highest Number Of Students In Quarantine

CHICAGO (CBS) -- The head of Chicago Public Schools said COVID testing of students has put the district with a positivity rate at 2.51.

CPS CEO Pedro Martinez said that number was more than double from last week, indicating a decline. At this point, 56,000 COVID tests were administered in city schools.

"We're continuing to build capacity with testing. You can see we've done almost 470,000 tests now since we started testing. So I'm continue to be optimistic that we're going to continue to build this capacity," Martinez said.

He added that CPS is working to make sure a certain percentage threshold is hit for testing, specifically with unvaccinated students.

"Our focus is making sure that every one of our schools is meeting the minimum 10% threshold or unvaccinated students so in other words," Martinez said. "We're making sure that across our 515 schools that we have a minimum of 10% of students are unvaccinated. They've given us consent for testing. I can tell you right now that we're now close to 90% of hitting that target. So our focus is going to be to get to 100%."

Martinez said CPS has, at this point, a large number of people in quarantine because of COVID.

"This pains me as a parent, we do have the highest number of students in quarantine, we have over 19,400 students. We have 109 staff," Martinez said. "So again, we have said this, we knew with cases coming we're going to quarantine more, more students we're going to be much more conservative in traditional classrooms very, very quickly. We have been doing that. Again, what I'm optimistic about is that we're seeing cases significantly decline especially as I saw the end of last week."

The head of the Chicago Department of Public Health, Dr. Allison Arwady, said she's seeing positive trends for COVID cases in the city, but it's still a time to keep your guard up against the Omicron variant.

"It's certainly encouraging to see the daily case rates in much of the country heading downward," said Arwady. "We might be able to see a little light at the end of the tunnel, but that doesn't mean we should let down our guard. We've got to stay vigilant to make sure things continue to head in the right direction, and we have no better tool than vaccinations."


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