Chief Greg Brown, regional mutual aid coordinator for St. Louis County, sits at the head of the table among fire and EMS leaders for a briefing at the St. Louis County Office of Emergency Management on Sunday, March 8, 2020, after the first coronavirus case was confirmed Saturday in St. Louis County. Photo by Rachel Ellis

As a growing number of schools, universities, and other institutions issue health warnings amid the coronavirus outbreak, a community in St. Louis County, Missouri is facing concerns of the virus spreading after a family decided to break their self-quarantine to attend a father-daughter dance.

The family was asked to remain quarantined after it was discovered the 20-year-old older daughter had contracted the virus after flying back to the U.S. from Italy.

When she arrived back in the States and realized that she was demonstrating symptoms characteristic of coronavirus, she called health officials who confirmed her suspicions shortly after.

One of the main causes of the coronavirus’s continual spreading is when people who are infected leave their homes and interact with other people.

This exposes the entire community to the virus, which is particularly dangerous for the older population. That’s why government officials urge anyone displaying symptoms to remain quarantined at home.

A local family, however, did not follow those instructions. The father, instead, decided to take his youngest daughter to a dinner-dance at her school despite potentially having already contracting coronavirus themselves.

According to a statement released by Villa Duchesne and Oak Hill School, the father and daughter were unaware of the positive test result of their family member until after they were already at the dance. When they found out, they left immediately.

However, that doesn’t mitigate the risk for everyone else who attended, and now the father has been forced “to stay home or they will issue a formal quarantine that will require him and rest of his family to stay home by the force of law,” according to St. Louis County Executive Sam Page.

The statement by the school also tried to alleviate concerns for parents and students alike.

“Based on the conversations…with medical experts today, the likelihood of any…students contracting the virus is extraordinarily low. Still, under an abundance of caution, we have asked them to stay home from school until we have more information.”

School officials are urging anyone who attended the dance to seek out medical care to confirm whether or not they’ve also contracted the virus.

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