Algoma Public Health (APH) has declared outbreaks of COVID-19 at two schools, Korah Intermediate located in Sault Ste. Marie and Thessalon Public School. As per provincial Ministry of Education guidance, an outbreak is declared in a school once it has been determined that within a 14-day period, two individuals tested positive for COVID-19 and:
- at least one case could have reasonably acquired their infection in the school setting; and
- there are characteristics that link the two cases (e.g., a child or staff could have become infected with COVID-19 at the school, either from each other or a common source).
APH staff is currently assessing the situation and working with Algoma District School Board and the schools to review, confirm, and strengthen, if needed, the following public health measures:
- COVID-19 vaccination policies are in place
- Screening practices in place for children and staff
- Staying home when sick and excluding symptomatic individuals
- Cleaning and disinfecting high touch surfaces
- Using personal protective equipment when appropriate (e.g., masking, eye protection)
- Ensuring access to hand hygiene supplies
- Posting signage of appropriate public health measures (e.g., hand hygiene, coughing and sneezing etiquette)
- Maintaining and encouraging physical distancing
Algoma Public Health will continue to monitor the situation and outbreak measures may be scaled up or down in response to the risk of transmission in the schools.
All high risk close contacts have already been identified and contacted by APH, and have been provided instructions regarding COVID-19 testing and self-isolation requirements. APH reminds families from Korah Intermediate School and Thessalon Public School that if they have not received a letter or been directly contacted by APH, they do not need to have their child tested unless they are showing symptoms associated with COVID-19.
APH recommends that all students/staff who attend a school that is currently in an outbreak situation to closely self-monitor for symptoms of COVID-19 and, if symptoms develop, isolate immediately and visit a COVID-19 assessment centre.
Students and staff advised to seek testing, or if they develop COVID-19 symptoms, will need to notify the assessment centre that they are associated with the COVID-19 outbreak at either Korah Intermediate School or Thessalon Public School. This will allow test results to be prioritized and APH can be notified as quickly as possible.
Algoma District School Board and Algoma Public Health recognize that receiving this type of news can be concerning. For more information about Covid-19 or for mental health supports, please visit the APH website at www.algomapublichealth.com or the ADSB website at www.adsb.on.ca.