Hamilton school boards report 129 COVID cases last week

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Hamilton’s public and Catholic school boards reported 129 COVID-19 cases and six new outbreaks — three with cases screened positive for variants of concern — last week.

School boards reported 117 cases of the virus the previous week.

The Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board, which has a student population of approximately 50,000, reported 81 probable and confirmed cases — 74 students and seven staff — between April 5 and 11.

In the same week, the Hamilton-Wentworth Catholic District School Board, which has a student population of approximately 29,000, reported 48 confirmed and probable cases of the virus — 41 students, six staff and one third-party employee.

New school outbreaks include St. Thomas More Catholic Secondary School, which has two staff cases, Mount Albion Elementary School with six cases — three students and three staff — Strathcona Elementary School with two student cases, and Prince of Wales Elementary School with two student cases.

An outbreak at Bellstone Christian School, which has nine students and one staff infected, was declared on April 7.

An outbreak declared on April 6 at Guido de Bres Christian High School, which had two infected students, was declared over on April 8.

Outbreaks at St. Thomas More, Prince of Wales and Bellstone Christian High School have screened positive for a variant of concern.

There are a total of 11 ongoing outbreaks at Hamilton schools.

Outbreaks at Lisgar Elementary School, Lake Avenue Elementary School, St. Therese of Lisieux Catholic Elementary School and Timothy Christian School were declared over last week.

Since schools reopened to in-person learning on Feb. 8, there have been a total of 32 outbreaks at Hamilton schools.

Since the beginning of April, boards have reported a total of 167 cases — 108 public and 59 Catholic. More than half — 50 schools — in the public board have had at least one COVID-19 case this month. There are currently 19 schools in the Catholic board with confirmed cases.

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.

Hamilton post-secondary institutions reported four cases of the virus between April 5 and 11 — two at McMaster University on April 5 and 9 and two at Mohawk College on April 5 and 8.

Kate McCullough, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Hamilton Spectator