Students and others connected to a Kitchener, Ont., high school have been sent letters by Waterloo Public Health over potential exposure to COVID-19, the agency confirmed to Global News on Tuesday.
“Yesterday afternoon, letters were sent home from public health to 80 members of the St Mary’s high school community,” said Dr. Hsiu-Li Wang, the region’s acting medical officer of health.
It was “to let them know that they may have had a low-risk exposure to COVID-19,” she explained, “because one of our nine cases now in Waterloo region is a member of that school community.”
Because of the patient’s right to privacy, Wang could not get into specifics about how the infected person was connected to the school.
“We’re not providing more information because all we really need is the actual specific classroom setting where there may have been exposure,” she said.
Wang said Public Health worked closely with officials from the school and the Waterloo District Catholic School Board to make sure that all of the people at risk were contacted.
She said that those who are contacted will be asked to monitor for symptoms of the disease.
[ Sign up for our Health IQ newsletter for the latest coronavirus updates ]
“This is a low-risk situation that we don’t believe requires people to self-isolate,” Wang said.
Publicly-funded schools in Ontario were ordered closed on Monday by the Ontario government in an attempt to slow the coronavirus epidemic.
Questions about COVID-19? Here are some things you need to know:
Health officials say the risk is low for Canadians but warn this could change quickly. They caution against all international travel. Returning travellers are asked to self-isolate for 14 days in case they develop symptoms and to prevent spreading the virus to others.
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. If you develop symptoms, contact public health authorities.
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.
- Supreme Court of Canada won’t hear unvaccinated Alberta woman’s case for organ donation
- Fight continues against wildfires in hard-hit northern Quebec
- Wildfires pose health risk to pregnancy, experts warn. Here’s what to know
- Canada’s drug pricing conflict sparked by health minister letter, emails show