COVID-19 case confirmed at Winnipeg's Churchill High School, health officials say

A Grade 7 student with a confirmed case of COVID-19 went to Winnipeg's Churchill High School on Tuesday and used Winnipeg Transit while asymptomatic, public health officials said in a news release on Wednesday evening.

Public health officials say risk is low because student wore a mask, practised physical distancing

A Grade 7 student at Churchill High School was among the COVID-19 cases identified earlier on Wednesday. (Jaison Empson/CBC)

A case of COVID-19 has been confirmed at a Winnipeg high school, Manitoba public health officials said Wednesday evening.

The Grade 7 student was in class at Winnipeg's Churchill High School on Tuesday, and used Winnipeg Transit while asymptomatic, the province said in a news release.

The student, in Room 20 at the Riverview-area school, was among the COVID-19 cases identified earlier in the day Wednesday, the release said.

The student was in school between 8 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. on Tuesday and took the No. 16 bus just after 7:50 a.m. that day, boarding at Graham Avenue and Vaughan Street, according to the province's list of flights and events with confirmed cases.

Officials say the risk is low because physical distancing was maintained while the student was at school, and the student wore a mask while in school and on the bus.

Public health investigators don't believe the student caught the virus at school.

The Grade 7 student was at the school, shown here during the pandmic lockdown in April, between 8 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. on Tuesday. The student also rode the No. 16 bus just after 7:50 a.m. that day, boarding at Graham Avenue and Vaughan Street. (Holly Caruk/CBC)

There are no close contacts connected with the case, and health officials have not advised anyone to self-isolate, but others who were at the school or on the bus with the student should self-monitor for symptoms of COVID-19, the province says.

The school and cohort were notified Wednesday in a letter sent by the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority. Officials say cleaning is being done out of an abundance of caution.  

The school will be open for classes Thursday, according to Radean Carter, the senior information officer for the Winnipeg School Division, which Churchill High School falls under.

"We are mobilizing our sanitization unit, which will go to the school overnight and make sure that it's fogged. The classroom where the student was attending just for a couple of hours yesterday will be fogged just to add that extra level of security for both us and our staff and students," she said in an interview with CBC News.

Masks are mandatory on Winnipeg Transit buses, plus in all city-owned buildings. (Jaison Empson/CBC)

The bus the student took to school was also cleaned after Winnipeg Transit was made aware of the potential exposure, according to a news release issued by the City of Winnipeg on Wednesday evening.

"All employees who have been identified as having been in contact with the bus following the potential exposure have been contacted, and appropriate follow-up measures are being taken," the release said.

Churchill High School is not being elevated under the province's colour-coded pandemic response system, given the low risk and lack of close contacts, the provincial release said. All schools in province remain at the yellow, or "caution," level.