The patient’s father broke quarantine to bring his other daughter to a father-daughter school dance, prompting the school to cancel classes

By Julie Mazziotta
March 09, 2020 02:05 PM

The family of a Missouri woman with coronavirus broke quarantine to attend a school dance on Saturday, prompting the school to cancel classes.

The patient, a woman in her twenties just outside of St. Louis, was confirmed to have coronavirus on Saturday after returning from a trip to Italy on March 2. Her family was told to self-quarantine, but her father and younger sister decided to attend a father-daughter dance put on by the younger daughter’s school, Villa Duchesne and Oak Hill School, at the nearby Ritz-Carlton Hotel.

“The patient’s father did not act consistently with the health department’s instructions,” St Louis County Executive Sam Page said on Sunday, according to TIME. “Instead, last night he decided to take his other daughter to a school function.”

“Quarantine means stay in your home,” he added, St. Louis Public Radio reported.

After learning that the family had broken quarantine to attend the school dance, Villa Duchesne, a private school, canceled classes for Monday. In an update posted on Facebook, the school said they “will use the day to gather information and guidance from health officials” to determine if they need to close for longer.

The Ritz-Carlton also told TIME that they will “perform enhanced cleaning of hotel areas where the event was hosted.”

On Sunday, the St. Louis County Department of Public Health issued a formal quarantine to the family, saying that the entire household is required by law to quarantine for 14 days, beginning after the patient stops showing symptoms.

Page lauded the patient, who called ahead to a coronavirus hotline to ask to be tested, for her actions while calling out the rest of her family.

“The way the family has reacted to this situation is really a tale of two reactions and a study of how people should and should not react to the coronavirus,” Page said. “The patient had conducted herself responsibly and maturely, and she is to be commended for complying with the health department’s instructions.”

The patient is Missouri’s only confirmed case of coronavirus at this time. There are at least 545 confirmed cases of the virus nationwide, and 22 people have died.

Last week, a man in New Hampshire who was told to self-quarantine went against that advice and attended a party at Dartmouth College. He was diagnosed with coronavirus soon after.