Southwestern Public Health wants parents and guardians of students in Oxford and Elgin Counties to know that if COVID-19 is confirmed positive for a student or staff member, Public Health will let them know.
Upon receipt of a positive test, Public Health immediately begins a case investigation. The first call goes to the positive case. Subsequent calls go to close contacts of the positive case, which are classmates and support staff working in the same space.
“Our goal is to communicate quickly and accurately so you won’t have to rely on the rumour mill or a social media post,” said Dr. Joyce Lock, Medical Officer of Health for the Oxford-Elgin region in a media release. “After we have contacted the individual case and their close contacts, the broader school community will receive an email from the school principal so that everyone is informed by a trusted source.”
To protect the privacy of the individual with COVID-19, that person will not be identified by name, gender or age or whether they are a teacher or a student.
Individuals who are COVID-19 positive will be monitored and supported throughout their illness and advised when it is safe to return to school.
“Our local school boards have done an enormous amount of work to minimize the risk of infection and to put processes in place should a child or teacher become ill,” said Lock.
“The first step in this process starts with parents and guardians monitoring the health of their children before they leave their home each morning. If you notice a symptom of COVID-19 in your child, keep them home and call your family health care provider or book an appointment at your local assessment centre.”
Tillsonburg’s COVID-19 assessment centre (1-855-905-6148) is located at 17 Bear Street. It tested 175 individuals last week.
Parents and guardians are reminded that if their sick child does not have a COVID-19 test to confirm the source of their symptoms, the child will need to stay home for 14 days and until the child is 24 hours symptom free.
Southwestern Public Health has a page dedicated to resources for educators and learners heading back to the classroom during the COVID-19 pandemic at www.swpublichealth.ca/covid-19-school-support.
There are currently five active COVID-19 cases in the Oxford-Elgin region with four in Woodstock and one in the Municipality of Bayham.
Two of the active cases have been hospitalized and one is in ICU.
Since March there have been 258 cases in the region and five COVID-19 deaths.
In Ontario schools, 27 of the 4,828 publicly-funded schools have reported a case as of Sept. 15 (https://www.ontario.ca/page/covid-19-cases-schools-and-child-care-centres). In total, there have been 29 school-related cases.