A father and daughter who were reportedly asked to self-quarantine after someone in their home tested positive for the new coronavirus went to a school dance a few days later, Missouri officials say.
However, the family’s lawyer claims they were never told to self-quarantine.
A St. Louis County woman tested positive for COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus, after she reported her symptoms to a local hotline, KMOV4 reports. Officials say the woman and her family were asked to self-quarantine on March 5.
Just two days after reportedly being asked to stay in their home, the father took his daughter to a dance at Villa Duchesne and Oak Hill School at the Ritz-Carlton, county executive Sam Page told the public at a press conference. The daughter was not the person who tested positive for the virus.
The family apparently didn’t know of the woman’s positive test result until they were already at the dance, KTVI-TV reports, adding that a statement from the school said they left once they found out about her diagnosis.
“When they announced that they broke quarantine, how could they break something that they’ve never been given?” the family’s lawyer, Neil Bruntrager, said.
The attorney alleges that county health executives never gave quarantine instructions during a phone call with the family on Thursday.
The school later confirmed to Global News that classes would be cancelled for the week.
“Our campus will be given a hospital-grade cleaning,” the school wrote on Facebook, according to USA Today. “School buildings will be sanitized and ready for students to return on March 23 after our spring break.”
In a press conference streamed live on Facebook on Sunday, Page said the infected woman called the county’s health hotline last Thursday.
Officials were relying on “common sense and goodwill,” Page said, assuming the family would self-quarantine as allegedly instructed.
“The way the family has reacted to this situation is really a tale of two reactions,” he said. “It is a study of how people should and should not react to the coronavirus.”
The infected woman was to be “commended,” he added, for remaining quarantined on Saturday as reportedly instructed.
Page added that the father has been told to stay home or he would be formally quarantined, which would “require him and the rest of his family to stay in their home by the force of law.”
Health officials are reportedly in contact with the family multiple times per day.
The father-daughter duo hasn’t shown symptoms of the virus. The infected woman, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, is in her 20s and was studying abroad in Italy when she flew into Chicago O’Hare International Airport on March 2.
She stayed with a friend before taking an Amtrak train to St. Louis on Wednesday, the Post-Dispatch reports. All affected passengers have been notified, according to Amtrak.
“We have received notification from St. Louis County, Mo., that an individual who travelled on Amtrak train 303 (Chicago – St. Louis) on March 4, 2020, has tested presumptive positive for the coronavirus,” the company said in a statement.
“We are working in close contact with public health and emergency management teams to have the best available information to be able to share with our customers and employees who might be affected.”
The virus has infected more than 115,000 people and killed more than 4,000 worldwide.