Hamilton

First COVID-19 outbreak declared at HWDSB school as new cases appear in other schools

There's an outbreak of COVID-19 at Shannen Koostachin Elementary School, making it the first outbreak at a school in the Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board (HWDSB).

There are numerous cases at Shannen Koostachin Elementary School in Hannon, while other schools have cases

Hamilton public health officials have declared a COVID-19 outbreak at Shannen Koostacin Elementary School in Hannon. (Bobby Hristova/CBC)

There's an outbreak of COVID-19 at Shannen Koostachin Elementary School in Hannon, making it the first outbreak at a school in the Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board (HWDSB).

Hamilton Public Health Services said Tuesday night that an outbreak is confirmed when a school has two or more lab-confirmed cases of COVID-19 in staff or students in a two-week period. In at least one case, the person could have "reasonably acquired their infection" in the school.

The public health announcement, which didn't say how many cases are associated with the school, came hours after the announcement of the first outbreak in the the Hamilton-Wentworth Catholic District School Board (HWCDSB). That outbreak is at Sacred Heart of Jesus Catholic Elementary School.

"The Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board is working with public health officials to facilitate case and contact tracing and manage the outbreak," public health said in a media release about Shannen Koostachin Elementary.

"It is vital that personal health information and identifiers are not released, and the privacy of everyone involved is respected."

The public board is also dealing with three other new cases.

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A System Alternative Education (SAE) staff member at the Rebecca Street location has the virus.

"The staff member was last in the building on Oct. 8. Hamilton Public Health Services notified HWDSB of the positive test result on Oct. 13," read a message from the board.

"As a precautionary measure, the students associated with this case have received instruction from HPHS to not attend school and isolate for a 14-day period. All staff impacted have also been informed."

There's also a student with COVID-19 at Tiffany Hills Elementary School. A class has closed as a result.

"The student was last in the building on Oct. 9, 2020. Hamilton Public Health Services notified HWDSB of the positive test result on Oct. 13," reads a letter from principal Jane Gerritsen.

And a student at Flamborough Centre Elementary School has the virus. The student was last in the building on Oct. 9 and the board learned of the case on Oct. 13.

"As a precautionary measure, the cohort of students in the class, those who ride the bus with the student, and the staff members associated with the confirmed case will receive instruction from HPHS to not attend school for a 14-day period," reads a letter to families.

In the Catholic school board, a student at St. Jean de Brébeuf Catholic Secondary School has been infected with COVID-19.

"The student was last in the school on Thursday, October 8, 2020. The positive test result was confirmed by Hamilton Public Health Services today," reads a letter from Tuesday evening.

"Hamilton Public Health Services has indicated that there are no school-related close contacts with this individual and therefore no risk to the school."

Burlington and St. Catharines schools with COVID cases

In Burlington, Nelson High School had three positive COVID-19 cases since Monday. Two students and one staff member tested positive, but the Halton District School Board says it is not an outbreak.

"A positive case at a school does not mean the individual was exposed to COVID-19 at the school. They may have been exposed somewhere else in the community," said spokesperson Marnie Denton.

She said the students were not in contact with anyone from the school while infectious and pose no risk to the school community. Meanwhile, those exposed to the staff member have been approached by Halton Region Public Health.

In St. Catharines, someone at Dalewood French Immersion Public School has tested positive.

It's unclear if the individual is a student or staff member, but the District School Board of Niagara said Tuesday evening that a class is closed as a result

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