Moose Jaw, Sask. school staff member tested for novel coronavirus

WATCH: Coverage in Saskatchewan of the novel coronavirus.

A staff member at a school in Moose Jaw, Sask., has been tested for COVID-19, the disease caused by novel coronavirus.

A letter to parents at École Palliser Heights School on Thursday said the staff member is in self-isolation until the test results are known.

Tony Baldwin, director of education for the Prairie South School Division, said classes will continue as normal.

“Late (Thursday) afternoon, the chief medical officer of Saskatchewan confirmed the school should continue as regularly scheduled, and there is no need for any additional measures at this time,” Baldwin said.

He said the school division is implementing two parts of its response plan on the recommendation of public health.

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“First, we are increasing disinfection of high touch areas, with additional focus on common areas of the school,” Baldwin said.

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“Secondly, individuals who have been in close proximity with the person who has been tested have been contacted and are self-monitoring to ensure they continue to be symptom-free.”

Word of the testing came on the same day the province confirmed its first presumptive case of COVID-19.

The province said the patient, who is in their 60s, had recently travelled to Egypt.

Saskatchewan’s chief medical health officer, Dr. Saqib Shahab, said the patient was tested on March 9 in Saskatoon and is well enough to self-isolate at home.

Concerned about COVID-19? Here are some things you need to know:

Health officials say the risk is very low for Canadians, but they caution against travel to affected areas (a list can be found here). If you do travel to these places, they recommend you self-monitor to see whether you develop symptoms and if you do, to contact public health authorities.

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Symptoms can include fever, cough and difficulty breathing – very similar to a cold or flu. Some people can develop a more severe illness. People most at risk of this include older adults and people with severe chronic medical conditions like heart, lung or kidney disease.

To prevent the virus from spreading, experts recommend frequent handwashing and coughing into your sleeve. And if you get sick, stay at home.

For full COVID-19 coverage from Global News, click here.

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