Hamilton school boards report 112 COVID cases over April break

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Hamilton’s public and Catholic school boards last week reported 112 COVID-19 cases and six new outbreaks — including three in which cases screened positive for variants of concern.

School boards reported 129 cases of the virus the previous week.

As of Monday, Hamilton students — with the exception of some special needs learners — are again learning remotely after the province closed Ontario schools to in-person learning.

The Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board, which has a student population of approximately 50,000, reported 83 probable and confirmed cases — 79 students and four staff — between April 12 and 18, when schools were closed for spring break.

In the same week, the Hamilton-Wentworth Catholic District School Board, which has a student population of approximately 29,000, reported 29 confirmed and probable cases of the virus — 27 students, one staff and one third-party employee.

Six new outbreaks were declared at Hamilton schools last week, as well as one at a before- and after-school program.

Four of them — Cootes Paradise Elementary School, Cathedral High School, Lawfield Elementary School and St. Vincent de Paul Catholic Elementary School — ended the same week. With two cases each, Our Lady of the Assumption Catholic Elementary School and R.L. Hyslop Elementary School are still in outbreak.

Hamilton public health told The Spectator delays in testing for cases that cropped up before spring break can impact when an outbreak is declared.

An outbreak was also declared at the Boys and Girls Club of Hamilton at Strathcona Elementary School. It, along with the outbreak at Our Lady of the Assumption, screened positive for a variant of concern, as did an ongoing outbreak declared April 6 at Mount Albion Elementary School, which has grown to six cases — three students and three staff.

Since schools reopened to in-person learning on Feb. 8, there have been a total of 38 outbreaks at Hamilton schools.

Kate McCullough, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Hamilton Spectator