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Pembroke, Ont., high school closed after 3rd staff member tests positive for COVID-19

A Pembroke high school has been ordered to close after a third staff member was diagnosed with COVID-19.
A Pembroke high school has been ordered to close after a third staff member was diagnosed with COVID-19. Eric Beck/ Global News

The Renfrew County and District Health Unit (RCDHU) has ordered a Pembroke, Ont., high school to close after a third staff member tested positive for COVID-19.

Earlier Wednesday, the school board announced an outbreak at Fellowes High School in Pembroke after a second staff member tested positive for the disease Tuesday. The first case at the school was identified in another staff member Friday.

Read more: Ottawa’s 61 new coronavirus cases are ‘concerning’: Mayor Watson

After the second case was confirmed, the school board announced an outbreak at the school, but did not advise any change in student attendance, since the two positive cases were limited to a “relatively confined area of the school with a small number of people at risk,” according to a news release from the health unit sent out Tuesday.

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But on Wednesday, after the third staff member tested positive for the disease, who, the health unit said, had worked in three different classrooms, the Renfrew County and District Health Unit ordered the school to close for an indefinite amount of time.

Public health is advising all students and staff to self-monitor for symptoms of COVID-19. Any close-contacts of the three staff members who tested positive will be contacted directly by public health.

A spokesperson for the school board assured Global News that no students have been diagnosed with the disease to date. They said the school will only reopen once public health gives the board the go ahead to do so.

The health unit said the school closure was necessary to allow for “aggressive follow-up and timely testing of individuals considered at risk.”

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