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Outbreak at French elementary school

An outbreak has been declared at École élémentaire Antonine-Maillet in Oshawa after two positive cases of COVID-19 were confirmed. (Photo courtesy of Conseil scolaire Viamonde)

A COVID-19 outbreak has been declared at a French elementary school in Oshawa.

The outbreak at École élémentaire Antonine-Maillet in Oshawa was declared on Sept. 26 with two positive cases of the virus, according to Durham Region Health Department, noting one case is resolved while the other remains in isolation.

The health department defines an outbreak in a school as “two or more lab-confirmed COVID-19 cases in students or staff in a school, within a 14-day period, where at least one case could have reasonably acquired their infection in the school.”

An outbreak has also been declared at Happy Tots Day Nursery in Oshawa. The outbreak was declared on Sept. 22 and the individual remains in isolation.

In the city’s north end, a Durham College student, who has been on the Oshawa campus, has also tested positive for COVID-19. The case was reported on Sept. 24.

According to a statement from the college, the student was in the A-Wing and B-Wing of the Gordon Willey building for classes and to visit their locker on Sept. 21.

“Appropriate risk mitigation measures are taking place at the college based on specific direction from Durham Region Public Health (DRPH) to ensure the health and safety of the entire campus community,” the statement reads, noting DRPH officials are in the process of completing contact tracing. Any student or employee who would be determined to be at risk will be directly contacted.

“Our student is currently isolating at home and is being accommodated academically,” the statement continues. “We wish our student a safe and speedy recovery.”

While there are no confirmed cases in Oshawa with the public and Catholic school boards at both the elementary and secondary levels, the Durham Catholic District School Board (DCDSB) has reported one confirmed case at All Saints Catholic Secondary School in Whitby, and the Durham District School Board (DDSB) has reported 13 positive cases across the board, including four in Whitby, three in Ajax, four in Pickering, and one in Port Perry.

As the province continues to see an upward trend in positive cases, Dr. Robert Kyle, Durham Region’s medical officer of health, says the government has adapted its approach to testing and has released updated testing guidelines to prioritize those who are at greatest risk, while shifting away from untargeted asymptomatic testing.

“This means that local area residents should only seek testing if they are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms; have been exposed to a confirmed case of the virus, as informed by the health department or the COVID Alert app; are a resident or staff member of a setting that has a COVID-19 outbreak; and are eligible for testing as part of a targeted testing initiative directed by the Ministry of Health or the Ministry of Long-Term Care,” Kyle states.

There are currently 15 active cases in Oshawa, all of which are in home isolation. To date, Oshawa has seen 324 confirmed cases of COVID-19, including 286 resolved and 23 deaths.

Durham Region currently has 98 active cases in home isolation, and three cases in hospital. To date, the region has seen 2,132 positive cases, including 1,850 resolved and 181 deaths.

“The best way to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in our community is to continue to follow public health preventative measures,” states Kyle. “We ask all residents to continue to practice physical distancing, wash your hands frequently and thoroughly, avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth, wear a non-medical mask or face covering in all indoor (enclosed) public spaces and when physical distancing is challenging, and remain home and self-isolate if you experience any COVID-19 symptoms.”