ADSB and APH explain how COVID notifications work

Algoma Public Health

The rapidly evolving COVID situation inside our school system had parents asking, how is it decided when are they notified, who is responsible for the notifications, and any other information about the process?

We reached out to both the Algoma District School Board and Algoma Public Health for explanations as to the process. The following are their responses as follows.

Fran Walsh, Communications Direct/Covid Lead for ADSB left us with this insight.

“As I’m sure you know, Algoma Public Health takes the lead on confirming cases, contact tracing and notification to those considered both high and low risk contacts.

This excerpt below from the APH letter to parents/guardians includes an explanation about who receives a low risk and/or high risk contact letter.
‘At this time, APH is conducting a careful investigation to identify close contacts. Examples of close contacts include household members, people who have been in direct physical contact or belong to the same classroom/cohort, and people who have spent more than 15 minutes together within 2 metres or 6 feet of each other, such as while sharing a meal.

Brief interactions, like walking past someone in a hallway are not generally considered close contact situations. APH will notify all low risk and high risk contacts via letter to provide further guidance and direction. 

Please be reassured that if you do not receive a low risk and/or high risk contact letter, your child is not considered a close contact of the person who tested positive for COVID-19, in which case we do not recommend having your child tested unless they are showing symptoms of COVID-19.’
The letter in its entirety was sent to all parents/guardians at River View Public School last evening, as soon as contact tracing had been completed.  We are able to reach our school communities through email, voice messages to home/cell phones and an online parent communication tool. Information is also placed on our website.”, shared Walsh.

APH Associate Medical Officer of Health & Director of Health Protection, Dr. John Tuinema,
provided us with the following response.

“When someone tests positive for COVID-19, Algoma Public Health conducts a thorough investigation to determine the time period when that person was infectious and would have been able to spread the virus to others.

If an individual who tested positive, has spent time at school or daycare during their communicable period, APH assess the level of exposure within class cohorts, school buses, and other situations where there may be a possibility for exposure.

As part of the investigation, the close contacts are identified and provided with a letter with further instructions and contact numbers for more information. Letters have gone out to the daycare and school community.

The requirement for a contact to isolate depends on many factors including but not limited to a risk assessment, use of PPE, and vaccination status.”, shared Tuinema.

If you are curious about how certain situations occur in our community, or other processes, fire us an e-mail and we will do our best to reach out to obtain the answers and information you are looking for.

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