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Calgary school added to ‘watch’ list as Alberta adds 124 new COVID-19 cases Tuesday

File: Nasal swab collected for clinical diagnoses of COVID-19.
File: Nasal swab collected for clinical diagnoses of COVID-19. Paul Chiasson / The Canadian Press

For the first time, an Alberta school has been added to the province’s “watch” category when it comes to COVID-19 outbreaks in a school setting.

St. Wilfrid Elementary School in Calgary moved into the watch category on Tuesday. The outbreak at the school was initially declared on Sept. 10.

Read more: Coronavirus: What schools in Alberta have COVID-19 outbreaks

The watch status in a school means an outbreak has been declared with five or more cases of COVID-19 where the disease could have been acquired or transmitted in the school.

However, a spokesperson from Alberta Health indicated there is “no evidence of in-school transmission at this time.”

“The Alberta government is monitoring the situation and working with the school, school authority and Alberta Health Services. AHS continues to work with school authorities to ensure that anyone at risk of exposure is contacted, isolated and tested,” Tom McMillan said.

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“It’s important to remember that this designation is simply another tool to help monitor the spread of COVID-19 and ensure that everything possible is done to support the health and well-being of staff and students,” he continues. “The public health investigation is underway.”

Read more: Adriana LaGrange defends Alberta’s COVID-19 school plans in Global News interview

A spokesperson with the Calgary Catholic School District said six cases of COVID-19 have been identified at the school.

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“The school is working directly with AHS to determine what steps they need to take,” Sandra Borowski said in a statement.

“The school has also sent home letters to parent/guardians with information on the confirmed cases as well as isolation instructions as per AHS direction. All six cases are in students. At this time, the cases are all deemed community transmission and approximately 65 students have been asked to isolate.”

In her last in-person update on Monday, the province’s chief medical officer of health said there had been no evidence yet to suggest transmission within any of the schools that had identified cases.

“This means that the virus was brought into the school, rather than being spread inside,” Hinshaw said Monday.

Read more: Canada reports 817 new coronavirus cases, highest daily count since late May

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The change in status came as Alberta recorded 124 new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday but no additional deaths.

The positive cases reported Tuesday are a result of 12,985 coronavirus tests completed on Monday.

Read more: Alberta records 418 new cases of COVID-19 over 3 days this weekend, 1 additional death

Active cases of COVID-19 in Alberta dropped slightly from 1,538 on Monday to 1,491 on Tuesday, according to the province.

Of the active cases Tuesday, 650 are in the Edmonton zone, 540 are in the Calgary zone, 223 are in the North zone, 36 are in the Central zone, 33 are in the South zone and nine are not tied to any specific part of the province.

Click to play video 'Dr. Hinshaw explains COVID-19’s effects on the body' Dr. Hinshaw explains COVID-19’s effects on the body
Dr. Hinshaw explains COVID-19’s effects on the body

As of Tuesday afternoon, 39 people were in hospital with COVID-19, seven of whom were being treated in intensive care.

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Alberta’s chief medical officer of health is expected to deliver her next in-person update on COVID-19 on Thursday afternoon.