MLHU declares COVID-19 outbreak at École élémentaire La Pommeraie after 4th case confirmed

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

A COVID-19 outbreak has been declared at a French-language elementary school in the city after a fourth positive case was confirmed there, the Middlesex-London Health Unit said Friday.

Health officials said the outbreak at École élémentaire La Pommeraie on Settlement Trail is the first school-associated outbreak in the region so far this school year. Transmission of COVID-19 occurred among close contacts while they were at school, they said.

“The latest individual to test positive for COVID-19 is currently in isolation at their home after they were found to be a close contact of a previous case; they did not attend the school during their period of communicability,” the health unit said in a statement.

In a statement, Julie Vanghelder, director of communications for Conseil scolaire Viamonde, told 980 CFPL the four cases involved three students and one staff member.

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“We will continue to work with MLHU and follow their recommendations as our priority is our school community safety,” Vanghelder said via email.

Click to play video: 'Toronto Public Health investigating COVID-19 outbreaks at 2 schools'
Toronto Public Health investigating COVID-19 outbreaks at 2 schools

According to the health unit, only staff and students in classrooms identified as having had close contact with those positive for COVID-19 will be excluded from attending school.

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In a statement, Dr. Chris Mackie, the medical officer of health for London and Middlesex, said because close contacts of the confirmed cases were in self-isolation, “there is no need for further action by staff or students, other than to monitor themselves for the development of symptoms.”

“Because most children who attend elementary schools are too young to be vaccinated themselves, the best thing we can do to protect them is to make sure the people they spend time with have already been vaccinated,” he said.

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Only those 12 and older are currently eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. According to CS Viamonde’s website, École élémentaire La Pommeraie teaches kindergarten through Grade 6.

“Students will be able to proceed with remote learning on Microsoft Teams with their teachers,” Vanghelder said of those who are in isolation.

“The school remains open and follows the COVID-19 management protocol set up by Viamonde school board for the 2021-2022 school year.”

At least 14 COVID-19 cases were active involving local elementary and secondary schools as of Friday.

Of those, three cases were active at École secondaire catholique Monseigneur-Bruyère, a French-language Catholic school. Two each were also active at CS Viamonde’s École secondaire Gabriel-Dumont, and at the Thames Valley District School Board’s Kensal Park Public School.

According to health unit data, 197 COVID-19 cases were considered active in the region as of Friday. Of those, 29 involved people under the age of 12, while 16 involved people aged 12 and 17.

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