HURON-PERTH – Huron Perth Public Health has announced its public reporting practices for confirmed cases of COVID-19 in schools and related settings, such as before/after school programs, transportation, and extracurricular settings.
“We are committed to protecting the health of our communities and maintaining transparency,” said Dr. Klassen, Huron Perth’s medical officer of health. “When publicly reporting confirmed cases and outbreaks of COVID-19 in school settings, we will balance providing relevant information that people need to protect their health, and an individual’s right to privacy.”
Positive results and investigations
In the event of a positive result, HPPH will carry out contact tracing and follow up. This means:
- HPPH contacts any individuals who test positive for COVID-19;
- HPPH works with the school to complete an investigation and identify all contacts that occurred in the school setting during the time period that the case was potentially infectious to others;
- HPPH contacts all of the people (including students and staff) who have had close contact with the individual(s) who tested positive during the period of transmissibility; and
- HPPH provides direction to close contacts and the school to protect students and staff and prevent the spread of COVID-19.
There may be instances where a person sees their positive test result online before they are contacted by public health.
“If that happens, an individual’s first step should be to contact Huron Perth Public Health to receive further direction,” explained Klassen.
Parents and guardians should keep their child at home and call Huron Perth Public Health at 1-888-221-2133 ext. 3267 if they haven’t already received a call from HPPH.
HPPH will provide next steps and guidance, including directions for other household members. If a parent/guardian receives the results after hours or on the weekend, call 1-888-221-2133 and choose the on-call option. HPPH will respond within 24 hours. In the meantime, the child is asked to isolate at home.
“If students, parents and/or staff become aware of a confirmed case of COVID-19 related to a school but have not been contacted directly by Huron Perth Public Health, they can continue to attend school or work and continue the self-monitoring of symptoms that we should all be doing on a daily basis,” added Klassen.
Reporting a COVID-19 case in a school
To protect the privacy of individuals, HPPH will not routinely comment if an individual case is confirmed in a school setting. HPPH will continue to report positive cases, and demographic trends of positive cases such as age, gender and municipality here: COVID-19 in Huron and Perth.
School boards and schools are required to post information if there is a confirmed case of COVID-19 that involves a student or a staff member here:
- Avon Maitland District School Board: amdsb.ca/apps/pages/covid
- Huron Perth Catholic District School Board: http://huronperthcatholic.ca/pandemic-response/
To view confirmed case counts in school settings in Ontario, the province has set up a web page: COVID-19 cases in schools and child care centres
Reporting a COVID-19 outbreak in a school
Huron Perth Public Health will declare an outbreak in a school if there are two or more cases of COVID-19 in a 14-day period that have some link with each other, and with evidence that transmission occurred at the school.
In the instance of a confirmed COVID-19 outbreak in a school, HPPH will publicly report the outbreak, will identify the affected school, and will describe any closures that have resulted from the outbreak.
“Individual cases and contained outbreaks may not necessarily result in a school closure,” said Klassen.
HPPH will post information online including, for example, the school name and date the outbreak was declared. HPPH will assist the school and families in taking measures to contain and stop the outbreak.
HPPH reminds the public that now, more than ever, we need to emphasize COVID-19 prevention.
“We can all play a part in stopping COVID-19 from spreading in our community and in our schools,” said Klassen.
- If you experience symptoms of COVID-19, self-isolate and contact your primary care provider and go for testing if so advised. If you do not have a primary care provider, call Health Line at 1-888-221-2133 ext. 3267.
- If you have children attending school, use the parent screening tool available at hpph.ca/school each morning for direction.
- Wash your hands regularly and thoroughly.
- Maintain physical distance of two metres/six feet from anyone not in your social circle.
- Wear a non-medical cloth face covering in indoor public spaces and in settings where physical distancing cannot be maintained.