Murrieta high school closed, 71 students self-quarantined while staff member is tested for coronavirus

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This transmission electron microscope image shows the virus that causes COVID-19, isolated from a patient in the U.S. (NIAID-RML)

This transmission electron microscope image shows the virus that causes COVID-19, isolated from a patient in the U.S. (NIAID-RML)

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A Murrieta high school was closed and 71 students were told to self-quarantine while a staff member is tested for the coronavirus, authorities said Friday.

The employee at Murrieta Valley High School on 42200 Nighthawk Way had recently traveled to a country with a known coronavirus outbreak before falling ill, Riverside University Health System-Public Health said in a news release.

The school will be closed Monday “out of an abundance of caution” and will stay closed until the staff member’s coronavirus test results are back, authorities said.

The campus will be disinfected during the closure.

The dozens of students asked to self-quarantine are ones who may have come in contact with the sick employee, health officials said.

“While I want to reassure the students, families and staff at MVHS that the risk of transmission is low, I support the school district’s decision to temporarily close the school until testing is complete,” Riverside County public health officer Dr. Cameron Kaiser said.

There were no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Riverside County as of Saturday.

Officials provided no further details on the employee and it’s unclear when the test results are expected.

Earlier this week, Clifton Middle School in Monrovia underwent a “deep cleaning” after officials learned that a parent had been in contact with someone exposed to the coronavirus, the school district said. The parent and students were isolated for 14 days.

Symptoms of COVID-19 include fever, cough and shortness of breath.

Health experts advise community members to limit the spread of the virus by washing their hands regularly with soap and water, avoiding touching their face with unwashed hands and keeping away from those who are sick.

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