Wayzata High School student critical with COVID-19

Her family is detailing her battle with coronavirus and urging people to follow public health guidelines to prevent the spread of the virus.
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A Wayzata High School student is hospitalized in critical care with COVID-19.

According to a GoFundMe page, 17-year-old Ella Winston tested positive for COVID-19 on Oct. 30 and was admitted to Children's Hospital in Minneapolis on Nov. 1. 

The next day, she was moved to the intensive-care unit (ICU) "due to major complications with COVID."

Ella, a member of the Wayzata Trojets dance team, went to the hospital with several symptoms, including severe cough, sore throat, full-body rash, chest pain, and a temperature of 104.5, the page says. It was determined she had kidney failure, dangerously low blood pressure, a UTI and a staph infection.

In the past eight days, Ella has been sedated a few times for examinations and has been placed on oxygen and several medications to help with her pain, low blood pressure, staph infection, and UTI. She was also placed on Remdesivir to try to treat the coronavirus. 

"Unfortunately COVID has turned on Ella, which is causing more serious problems for her than they normally see in children," Ella's mom, Sarah Winston, said in an update that was posted to the page on Nov. 5. "Which has caused the pneumonia, kidney failure, liver distress, and heart failure. It’s a lot. On top of all that the bacterial staph infection has caused havoc on her poor body."

By Sunday, her eighth day in the hospital, Ella was moved out of the ICU and placed in a critical care room. 

In Sunday's update, Winston said Ella was put on a heart medication that she'll be on for the next six months and she'll have to follow-up with a cardiologist in the future. 

"Who knew getting COVID, you’d end up with a cardiologist?," Winston said in Sunday's update. "Well, who knew my very healthy teenage daughter would end up in the ICU from COVID either? Certainly, not me."

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Winston is also using her daughter's experience with COVID-19 to urge others to follow public health guidance. 

"Please, please I can’t stress this enough ... stay home if you are sick," Winston wrote. "Quarantine for two weeks if you were exposed to someone who tests positive for Covid. This means even without symptoms and/or a negative COVID test. This is so important. Please do the right thing."

Winston's message echos what state public health officials have been stressing for weeks as Minnesota sees COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations surge across the state. 

Last week, state health officials called Minnesota's COVID-19 situation dire, noting too few are taking the proper precautions to stop the spread of the virus. The state has said it's hoping to avoid another lockdown, but they need people to follow public health guidance, such as washing your hands, wearing a mask, social distancing and avoiding large groups.

"If Minnesotans were following the guidance that currently exists, we wouldn’t need further dialbacks, but just given the fact we’ve not seen those behavior changes, we just need to keep getting that message out," Kris Ehresmann, the state's director of infectious diseases, said Friday. 

On Sunday, the state of Minnesota reported nearly 6,000 new cases of COVID-19, breaking the state's record for single-day case numbers – a record that has been broken several times in the past week. Since the start of the pandemic, there have been 180,862 lab-confirmed cases in Minnesota and 2,656 deaths.

COVID-19 at Wayzata schools

The Wayzata Public Schools District, which is currently using hybrid learning, has seen 73 positive COVID-19 cases among all students and staff in the district since Sept. 14, according to Wayzata Public School's COVID-19 dashboard, which is updated on Wednesdays. That includes 25 new COVID-19 cases in the district in the week ending on Nov. 4 – the highest since the district started reporting case numbers.

The district is only reporting which schools have cases if there have been five or more cases in a seven-day period. Only one school in the district has reached that threshold – Sunset Hill Elementary School in Plymouth, which had six people test positive the week ending Nov. 4. 

Meanwhile, 214 students and staff in the district were quarantining as of Nov. 4, including 15 people at Wayzata High School.

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