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COVID-19 cases force class closures at three more Chatham-Kent schools

Two classes have been closed at Holy Family elementary school in Wallaceburg because of three students with confirmed COVID-19 cases.

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Two classes have been closed at Holy Family elementary school in Wallaceburg because of three students with confirmed COVID-19 cases.

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“The three cases are the result of exposure to the virus outside the school setting. Therefore, an outbreak has not been declared,” Chatham-Kent medical officer of Health Dr. David Colby and Lambton medical officer of health Dr. Sudit Ranade wrote Sunday to parents and staff.

Ursuline College Chatham closed a second class after a third confirmed student case was reported late Friday.

The school also reported a probable case as a precaution, but the medical officers of health said Monday it didn’t result in a confirmed case. They also said the three student cases at Ursuline are unrelated and are the result of exposure outside of school.

Three classes were closed at St. Joseph elementary school in Tilbury because of three probable cases reported Monday afternoon by the Chatham-Kent public health unit. No outbreak was declared because the cases stem from exposure outside of school, health officials said.

The public health unit reported 36 new cases Monday in its first update since Friday, raising the region’s cumulative total to 1,601 cases.

Active cases fell to 90, seven fewer than Friday, because 43 cases were resolved.

Walpole Island First Nation, which is part of the Lambton public health unit, had 23 active cases.

Chatham-Kent was down to two active outbreaks after one at an unidentified church was declared over.

The outbreak at Hudson Manor retirement home in Tilbury was up to two cases after a person from outside Chatham-Kent tested positive.

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A.A. Wright public school in Wallaceburg remained the only Chatham-Kent school with an active outbreak Monday. Some classes were also closed at Pain Court secondary school, Dresden Area central school and Tilbury Area public school, but all schools were open.

Chatham-Kent was up to four cases of variants of concern after the province reported three more Sunday.

A variant of concern is a COVID-19 viral strain that has mutated and become more easily passed from person to person, the Chatham-Kent public health unit said in a news release recently.

All four cases in Chatham-Kent involve the B.1.1.7 variant – the most common of the three variants of concern – first identified in the United Kingdom.

“These are sequencing results from old cases. …  The B.1.1.7 variant does not have the escape sequence, so immunity from previous infection or from vaccination is undiminished,” Colby said.

The Chatham-Kent Health Alliance’s Chatham hospital had four COVID-19 patients Monday, including three from Chatham-Kent, said president and CEO Lori Marshall. One was on a ventilator in the intensive care unit.

“It is important though for us always to remember that we are still in the pandemic. Numbers are climbing across the province,” Marshall said.

Three health alliance staff members were COVID-19 positive, she said. One is related to the hospital’s lab services outbreak that has been declared over.

Twelve more staff members were at home isolating.

Ten people from Chatham-Kent and three from Walpole Island have died of COVID-19.

– With files from Tom Morrison

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