Toronto declares first outbreak of COVID-19 at elementary school
One teacher and nearly 40 students are self-isolating at home, where they will remain for 14 days, under the direction of Toronto Public Health officials due to the city's first school-related outbreak of COVID-19.
Toronto Medical Officer of Health Dr. Eileen de Villa announced the news during a press conference at city hall Friday afternoon, explaining that two students at Glen Park Public School had tested positive for the highly-contagious coronavirus.
"This is the first declared COVID-19 outbreak in a Toronto school," said de Villa, but cautioned that context is important.
"The word outbreak may sound ominous to you, but this is what it means in the case of COVID-19 in schools," she said, repeating a definition set by the province to keep the term consistent: "At least two confirmed cases of COVID-19 within a 14 day period, and with a link to a school setting."
The two students of Glen Park, located at 101 Englemount Ave. in North York, are both isolating to recover from their illnesses. One teacher and two class cohorts of 17 and 18 students each have also been sent home to self isolate and, says de Villa, "will remain at home for 14 days."
Toronto's top doctor says that all infection prevention and control measures continue to be followed strictly at the school, including masking requirements for students and staff, as well as enhanced cleaning procedures.
"One of the realities of living in a world with COVID-19 is that there will be cases in schools," de Villa said.
"I expect there will be similar announcements in future, and you can be confident the steps developed to manage the situation and reduce the risk of spread will be followed."
There are currently 29 local schools with confirmed cases of COVID-19 as of Friday afternoon, according to the Toronto District School Board.
Ontario's Ministry of Health is currently reporting 238 cases of COVID-19 across 198 publicly-funded schools in the province.
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