Hamilton schools have had 117 COVID-19 cases in last 21 days

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Published September 24, 2021 at 9:21 pm

Pexels file photo.

It has taken barely 2½ weeks of in-person learning for Hamilton schools to go over the century mark in COVID-19 cases.

Data gathered from the advisory pages of the public school and Catholic school boards in the city indicates that 117 students and staff have contracted the respiratory virus since Sept. 4. Fourteen new cases were confirmed across both boards on Friday, including several in elementary-aged children. Cases among schoolchildren are not necessarily transmitted in the schools.

Schools reopened to in-person learning on Sept. 8. Education Minister Stephen Lecce, medical officers of health and school board leaders have touted enhanced ventilation, masking, and social distancing as part of the effort to keep schools open during the pandemic.

The Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board (HWDSB) COVID-19 advisory page lists 73 cases (66 students, seven staff). Only one involves a student who was learning remotely.

Six new cases from four HWDSB elementary schools were added on Friday (Sept. 24). Three were at Queen Victoria in Corktown. There is one new case apiece at Dr. Davey (Beasley neighbourhood), Gordon Price (Gurnett neighb.) and Lincoln Alexander (Randall).

The Hamilton-Wentworth District Catholic School Board (HWCDSB) is up to 44 cases (38 students, six staff members). Seven of those were verified on Friday.

One was associated with Immaculate Heart of Mary in Stoney Creek, which is already in an outbreak. Another case in a student was at St. Martin of Tours elementary school, whose school community is close to Immaculate Heart of Mary and South Meadow, which is another elementary school with an outbreak.

St. Patrick, a Catholic elementary schoool in the lower-city Lansdale neighbourhood, has two cases. Single cases were reported among high school students at Cathedral, St. Thomas More and St. Jean de Brébeuf.

Hamilton Public Health determines when to declare an in-school outbreak and close elementary school classes or secondary school cohorts. The critieria for an outbreak is “two or more lab-confirmed COVID-19 cases in students and/or staff (or other visitors) in a school with an epidemiological link, within a 14-day period, where at least one case could have reasonably acquired their infection in the school (including transportation and before/after school care).”

Nine of the 19 active outbreaks in Hamilton are connected to school or childcare settings.

Children have be at least 12 years old by Dec. 31 to receive a a vaccine against COVID-19.

Definitive research about the prevalence and extent of long COVID, or post-COVID syndrome, in younger children who get the virus appears to be thin at this stage.

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