Variants of concern found in two Hamilton elementary schools in outbreak

·2 min read

Since Wednesday, Hamilton public health has declared COVID-19 outbreaks at three Hamilton elementary schools.

Two outbreaks — at Dr. J.E. Davey Elementary School and Mountview Elementary School — have cases that “screened positive” for variants of concern, according to public health.

An outbreak was declared Thursday at Dr. J.E. Davey Elementary School in central Hamilton after four students tested positive for the virus.

The Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board also reported a new staff case of the virus on Friday. A staff case was previously reported on March 15, bringing the school’s total to six cases.

An outbreak was also declared at Mountview Elementary School on the west Mountain on March 17 after two cases — one student and one staff — were found.

In an email to The Spectator, spokesperson James Berry said public health “anticipates variants of concern being the predominate strains of COVID-19.”

Public health “continues to monitor the local situation as it relates to COVID-19 and the presence of variants within the community,” he said.

An outbreak was also declared at Greensville Elementary School on Thursday. Two cases of the virus — a staff on March 15 and a student on March 18 — have been found at the school.

No cases at Greensville have screened positive for variants of concern, according to public health.

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.

An outbreak at Central Elementary School in downtown Hamilton, which public health lists as having four related cases, was declared on March 13.

An outbreak at St. Lawrence Catholic Elementary School in Hamilton’s North End has two outbreak-related cases.

Outbreaks at both Central and St. Lawrence schools are listed as having “no variant.”

To date, there have been a total of 14 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