Coronavirus: 2nd staff case reported at London’s La Pommeraie Elementary School

École élémentaire La Pommeraie in southwest London, Ont.
École élémentaire La Pommeraie in southwest London, Ont. Courtesy: École élémentaire La Pommeraie via Facebook

For the second time this week, a member of École élémentaire La Pommeraie, a French-language elementary school in southwest London, has tested positive for the coronavirus, officials with the Middlesex-London Health Unit (MLHU) reported Thursday.

The health unit says it was notified late Wednesday night about the latest positive diagnosis and says it’s since been determined that the individual was at the school while they were infectious.

While health officials wouldn’t initially say whether the case involved a staff member or student, Conseil scolaire Viamonde, the public French-language secular school board, reported on its website that the person who tested positive was a staff member at the school, as was the case earlier this week.

On Thursday, Dr. Chris Mackie, the region’s medical officer of health, also confirmed that the case involved a staff member, and noted that the person had not been present during the school day but was involved in a program that supervised students at the school after hours.

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The last time the person supervised students was on Sept. 28, he said, adding that their symptoms developed while they were at work.

“We were notified late (Wednesday) about that positive result. So that person would have been tested a day or two previously,” Mackie said.

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“One reassuring thing is that we haven’t had any cases come forward in students since that time. We’re actually reaching pretty close to the two-week period.”

Read more: Coronavirus — Case confirmed involving staff member of London’s La Pommeraie Elementary School

The first staff case at the school was confirmed Monday night, a school board spokesperson told 980 CFPL earlier this week. It was first reported on Tuesday.

In a statement, Mackie said a link between the two cases had not yet been established.

“We can’t find anything that indicates that there’s been any contact between the two individuals who have tested positive, so at this point, we’re not declaring an outbreak at that school,” Mackie said.

“Of course we will, if and when information becomes available that makes that link between those cases and/or anyone else positive at the school.”

Health officials say parents, guardians and staff of the school were notified of the case shortly after the health unit learned of it.

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In all, just under 30 close contacts are being asked to self-isolate and get tested for the coronavirus, Mackie said.

“We don’t have data that would show that it’s required to close the entire school, but of course, that is always a consideration, and we won’t hesitate to do that if we need to,” he said.

Read more: TVDSB confirms COVID-19 case at Saunders Secondary School

The case is the sixth school-involved case to be reported in the immediate London area since the start of September, and the fourth to be reported within London itself.

Most recently, a case was reported at Saunders Secondary School on Wednesday involving a student who attended class while infectious, according to local health officials.

Prior to that was the first staff case at École élémentaire La Pommeraie.

Elsewhere, a case was reported involving a student at Mitchell Hepburn Public School in St. Thomas on Sept. 29, while a separate probable case was reported at St. Thomas Community Christian School, a private school in that city, on Sept. 25.

It was not clear whether the private school case involved a student or staff member. An SWPH spokesperson said this week that the case had since been deemed resolved and that students had returned to school.

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The region’s first school-linked case, involving a student at H.B. Beal Secondary School, was reported on Sept. 21 and has since been deemed resolved.