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Mix of Ottawa sports game, social events led to series of COVID-19 cases, school disruptions

A case study released by Ottawa Public Health on Oct. 27, 2021 showed the spread of the virus after a sports game in early September. via Ottawa Public Health / Twitter

Ottawa Public Health’s latest real-world contact tracing example shows the widespread impacts of delaying COVID-19 testing and vaccination after a few seemingly innocuous gatherings.

The local public health unit, which in the past has released flowcharts to show how COVID-19 has spread through gatherings such as weddings, workplaces and outdoor barbecues, posted a new case study on Wednesday showing transmission tied to a sports game and a social event.

The end result of the two events was 26 people testing positive for COVID-19 and 247 high-risk contacts, affecting nearly a dozen Ottawa schools over 23 days in September.

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All transmission related to sports games and schools in the diagram are related to youth over the age of 12, OPH said.

And even though every individual with a positive case was eligible for vaccination, each person who ultimately contracted the virus did not have a full course of vaccines, the health unit said.

The transmission started with one youth with COVID-19 who attended a sports game, which was held outdoors but included physical contact and no masking.

That initial person delayed testing and went to a social gathering and to school, affecting a total of four classroom cohorts and a handful of other homes and businesses.

Read more: Days after schools open, COVID-19 outbreaks force many across Canada to close

A second person with COVID-19 then attended a social gathering with individuals from the initial sports game, with inconsistent masking and distancing despite two of the people there exhibiting symptoms.

A number of other schools, sports games and even a long-term care home were then at risk of outbreaks as a result of a visit from a person with COVID-19, OPH said, though no high-risk contacts were ultimately traced to the care facility.

In total, 13 cohorts were dismissed across two schools as a result of high-risk contacts tied to the sports game and subsequent social gathering.

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Transmission continued past OPH’s diagram, the health unit added in its tweet, with an additional 11 people testing positive for the virus and 217 more high-risk contacts. An elementary school also had to close as a result of the spread.

Click to play video: 'How an outdoor gathering in Ottawa led to community transmission' How an outdoor gathering in Ottawa led to community transmission
How an outdoor gathering in Ottawa led to community transmission – Sep 23, 2020

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