Windsor-Essex sees 2nd school outbreak, one class dismissed

·3 min read

A second elementary school in Windsor is experiencing a COVID-19 outbreak, the local health unit announced Thursday.

The outbreak was reported following a second confirmed case Wednesday at W. J. Langlois Catholic Elementary School. The school remains open but approximately 20 staff and students are self-isolating, the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit (WECHU) said during its COVID-19 briefing Thursday.

The health unit says it is "strongly recommending" all staff and students related to the outbreak to get tested.

This outbreak is the second one announced this week after everyone at Frank W. Begley Public School was dismissed Wednesday following three staff members testing positive for the disease.

"The rising number of cases in the community and spillover effect of these cases into our school is a reminder for all of us to be vigilant for COVID-19," the region's medical officer of health Dr. Wajid Ahmed said.

"It is now — more than ever — important to continue to monitor your own symptoms and stay home if you are sick and as always assess your child daily before sending them to school."

He said he's seen the school community become more lenient since the start of the school year, and wants everyone to remember that there is a constant risk.

"It's been more than two months," he said. "I can personally speak from my experiences as a parent that there are now ... students, parents they are not doing everything that they should, including some of the staff."

"I think its about time that we revisit that. We don't want to sound like a broken record but this is still a pandemic, it is not over. "

The health unit's chief nursing officer Theresa Marentette said Thursday that the class was already self-isolating based on a previous case and will now continue to remain at home following a second reported case.

Sanjay Maru/CBC
Sanjay Maru/CBC

"We are still investigating but the outbreak was called on two cases in the same classroom," Marentette said.

She could not say when the first case was reported.

In a news release Thursday, the Windsor-Essex Catholic District School Board confirmed that the the class had been isolating as of last week, adding all parents of the school community have been notified.

"At this time all other students and staff are deemed low-risk and can continue to attend school," the board's email reads.

New cases reported

The health unit reported 27 new COVID-19 cases Thursday.

Of these cases, nine are close contacts of a confirmed case, five are community acquired and 13 are under investigation.

There are 200 active cases in the region. Of these, 11 are in the hospital, including two in ICU.

Three long-term care and retirement homes remain in outbreak, including:

  • Berkshire Care Center in Windsor with one staff case.

  • Lifetimes on Riverside in Windsor with five resident cases and four staff cases.

  • Iler Lodge in Essex with 17 resident cases and one staff case.

A community outbreak at a University of Windsor residence is still active.

As well, one agriculture workplace in Leamington remains in outbreak. In total, the business has seen more than 50 cases in its workers.

"The business is experiencing a lot of challenges, they have very few workers on site right now doing the work but this weekend some of the people that have been isolating will be returned back to the farm if they don't have any symptoms," Marentette said, adding that as early as Thursday workers will return back to work.

She said the outbreak has "definitely impacted" the business' operations but she doesn't believe they closed down at any point.