3 Catholic schools, 2 public schools tied to potential Omicron cluster in London, Ont.

Click to play video: 'Cluster of COVID-19 cases in Middlesex-London could be linked to Omicron'
Cluster of COVID-19 cases in Middlesex-London could be linked to Omicron
A cluster of cases in Middlesex-London may be linked to Omicron. Officials are still investigating the cases, but say there is strong evidence to believe the variant of concern is involved. Brittany Rosen has more. – Dec 6, 2021

Students at three Catholic schools in London, Ont., will be learning remotely for at least the rest of the week due to potential cluster of the new COVID-19 variant, Omicron.

The public board, meanwhile, said close contact cases have been identified at two of its schools, which will remain open at this time.

The Middlesex-London Health Unit reported Monday afternoon that it had strong reason to believe that a cluster of 30 cases with roughly 100 more high-risk contacts involves the Omicron variant.

While the health unit is awaiting the results of whole genomic sequencing to confirm, it said that due to the fact that some of the individuals had travelled to London from Nigeria as well as the initial laboratory screening results, “the likelihood of an Omicron cluster is very high.”

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At the time, the MLHU said the cluster was tied to “several schools and child-care centres” but it was not naming them publicly as it was still in the process of notifying members of those communities. The cluster is also linked to an outbreak at God’s Favourite House, a church on Dearness Drive.

Read more: Omicron likely involved in cluster of at least 30 COVID-19 cases in London: MLHU

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Monday night, the London District Catholic School Board announced that St. Marguerite in the White Hills neighbourhood, St. Nicholas in River Bend and St. Mary Choir and Orchestra in the Old East Village would be closing effective immediately “due to the number of students and staff quarantining” in connection with the potential Omicron cluster.

“Since the cases affect staff in multiple different classrooms throughout the schools as part of their regular duties, this decision was made out of an abundance of caution to help ensure the health, safety and well-being of all students and staff at the schools,” the board said in a statement.

The board anticipates that in-person classes will resume next Monday, Dec. 13.

According to Monday’s data from the MLHU, there were five active COVID-19 cases confirmed at St. Marguerite d’Youville School, three at St. Nicholas Catholic School and two at St. Mary Choir and Orchestra Catholic School.

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The Thames Valley District School Board announced Monday night that “Princess Elizabeth Public School in London, and Delaware Public School in Delaware have identified close contact cases.”

The board says everyone impacted is isolating and the schools will remain open at this time.

“As the situation evolves, we will continue to take precautionary measures based on the guidance of our local health units to ensure the safety of our staff and students, which is our number one priority,” director of education Mark Fisher said.

Acting medical officer of health Dr. Alex Summers added that the situation is evolving quickly but there is strong evidence to indicate “that the Omicron variant has arrived in our region.”

“While we’re still learning about the variant, it’s clear that it spreads easily,” he said.

“We recommend people continue to follow public health guidance, especially by getting vaccinated, wearing a mask, maintaining physical distance, and limiting the size of social gatherings.”


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