COVID outbreak declared at Hamilton’s St. Lawrence Catholic elementary school

·2 min read

An outbreak of COVID-19 has been declared at St. Lawrence Catholic Elementary School in Hamilton’s north end after two students tested positive for the virus.

The Hamilton-Wentworth Catholic District School Board reported the first student case on Monday. A second student case was reported on March 9. The students were last at school on March 4 and March 8, respectively.

In a March 10 letter to families, the school’s principal said Hamilton public health had declared an outbreak at the school effective the same day.

“The outbreak is related to (a) cohort that is currently in isolation,” principal Maria Trotta wrote. St. Lawrence is listed on the board’s website as having one class or cohort closed.

A school outbreak is defined by the province “as two or more lab-confirmed COVID-19 cases ... with an epidemiological link, within a 14-day period, where at least one case could have reasonably acquired their infection in the school.”

There are currently five ongoing outbreaks at Hamilton schools.

The largest outbreak is at St. Michael Catholic Elementary School on the Mountain, where six confirmed and probable cases of the virus have been found and four classrooms have been closed.

There are also outbreaks at Cathy Wever Elementary School in central Hamilton, Orchard Park Secondary School in Stoney Creek and Hillfield Strathallan College, near Mohawk College — each with two related cases, according to Hamilton public health.

An outbreak declared at Queensdale Elementary School on March 7 was declared over on March 11. In a March 9 letter to families, principal John Whitwell said public health had “determined that the cases at our school do not meet the criteria of outbreak at this time.”

To date, there have been a total of 10 outbreaks declared at Hamilton schools since students returned to in-person learning last month.

Schools in Hamilton reopened for in-person learning on Feb. 8 with enhanced health and safety measures in place after weeks of remote learning.

Kate McCullough, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Hamilton Spectator