Hamilton school boards report 117 COVID-19 cases, three new outbreaks last week

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Hamilton’s public and Catholic school boards reported 117 COVID-19 cases and three new outbreaks — one with cases screened positive for variants of concern — last week.

School boards reported 94 cases of the virus the previous week.

The Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board, which has a student population of approximately 50,000, reported 68 probable and confirmed cases — 63 students and five staff — between March 29 and April 4.

In the same week, the Hamilton-Wentworth Catholic District School Board, which has a student population of approximately 29,000, reported 49 confirmed and probable cases of the virus — 41 students and eight staff.

There are currently 21 schools in the Catholic board with confirmed cases of COVID-19.

New school outbreaks include Ancaster Meadow Elementary School, which has two student cases and has screened positive for a variant of concern, Sts. Peter and Paul Catholic Elementary School, which has seven student cases related to the outbreak, and St. Therese of Lisieux Catholic Elementary School, which has three cases — two student and one staff.

Outbreaks were also declared at French school Ecole elementaire Monseigneur-de-Laval and Timothy Christian School, both of which have screened positive for a variant of concern.

There are a total of 13 ongoing outbreaks at Hamilton schools.

Since schools reopened to in-person learning on Feb. 8, there have been a total of 29 outbreaks at Hamilton schools.

In March, Hamilton schools reported more than 300 cases of the virus, the vast majority in the last two weeks. Last month’s numbers are more than double the previous record of 115 cases in December.

On March 30, Mohawk College reported four new cases of the virus in students at its Fennell Avenue campus.

Mohawk said in a March 30 update public health determined a link between three student cases. The students were last on campus March 24.

“Public Health officials have deemed that there is a connection between the cases but that connection is not related to their time on campus,” the update reads.

Mohawk says there were no close contacts linked to any of the students’ time on campus.

Kate McCullough, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Hamilton Spectator