Hamilton school boards report 84 COVID cases, three variant-linked outbreaks last week

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Hamilton schools reported 84 COVID-19 cases and three outbreaks — all with cases screened positive for variants of concern — in the third week of March.

School boards reported nearly 70 cases of the virus the previous week.

The Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board, which has a student population of approximately 50,000, reported 67 probable and confirmed cases — 60 students and seven staff — between March 15 and 21.

In the same week, the Hamilton-Wentworth Catholic District School Board, which serves approximately 29,000 students, reported 17 confirmed and probable student cases of the virus.

There are currently 13 schools in the Catholic board with confirmed cases of COVID-19.

Three new outbreaks — all linked to COVID-19 variants of concern — were declared at Hamilton schools in the third week of March.

The largest is at Dr. J.E. Davey Elementary School in central Hamilton, which is currently closed to in-person learning until at least March 26.

The school has reported 11 cases — nine students and two staff — since March 15.

Mountview Elementary School on the west Mountain and Greensville Elementary School are also in outbreak as of March 17 and March 18, respectively.

Mountview has had three cases — two students and one staff — since March 12. Greensville has also had three cases — one student and two staff.

There is an ongoing outbreak at St. Lawrence Catholic Elementary School in Hamilton’s North End, which was declared March 10 after two students tested positive.

Hamilton public health lists St. Lawrence as having “no variant” associated with the outbreak.

Schools in Hamilton reopened for in-person learning on Feb. 8 with enhanced health and safety measures — including daily screening requirements for secondary students, outdoor masking and new guidance discouraging students from congregating before and after school — in place after weeks of remote learning.

There have been approximately 290 cases at Hamilton’s public and Catholic schools since students returned to classrooms.

Kate McCullough, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Hamilton Spectator