We are in just the third week since students were allowed to return to the classroom and there have already been five COVID-19 outbreaks declared at schools across Waterloo Region.
All five were announced this week with one having led to a school closing its doors until March 8.
St. John Catholic Elementary School in Kitchener has seen six students and a staff member test positive for the coronavirus prompting the move.
“The number of people currently being assessed as potential high-risk contacts is such that we are experiencing challenges having enough staff to safely deliver program at St. John’s during this time when staff are isolating,” the Waterloo Region District Catholic School Board said in a letter to parents on the closure.
Outbreaks were also declared on Thursday at École Secondary Catholic Père-René-De-Galinée in Cambridge and St. Agnes Catholic Elementary School in Waterloo where two students have tested positive for the virus.
There were also outbreaks declared earlier in the week at Howard Robertson Public School in Kitchener and Monsignor Doyle Catholic Secondary School in Cambridge.
Waterloo Region’s medical officer Dr. Hsiu-Li Wang told the board of health Wednesday that the outbreak at Monsignor Doyle was connected to a variant of concern.
“Currently, there are three total cases associated with this outbreak,” she told the board. “No further action is required at this time as the impacted cohort was already dismissed as a result of the original case.”
The outbreaks are among 22 active COVID-19 outbreaks in the region including new ones which were declared at Cambridge Memorial Hospital and a restaurant on Thursday.
On Thursday, a death was reported at Court At Laurelwood Retirement Residence while the case count at the home has also exploded.
There have now been 13 cases connected to the outbreak, up from four a day earlier.
The overall COVID-19 numbers in the area have been trending in the wrong direction for the past few days with 74 more positive tests for the coronavirus being reported by Waterloo Public Health on Friday. This raises the total number of cases in the area to 10,608.
And for the third straight day, a COVID-19 related death was reported with the toll now reaching 223. There were another 26 people cleared of the virus, lifting the total number of resolved cases to 9,976.
This leaves the area with 396 active cases, a number that has risen by 90 over the past six days. Of that total, 29 people are in area hospitals including five people who are in intensive care.
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