The Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit (SMDHU) has received notification of the region’s first confirmed case of COVID-19 related to a school, specifically in a staff member at Twin Lakes Secondary School in Orillia.
“We are in contact with the individual and from the information gathered so far all indications are that the virus was contracted in the community, and not in school,” said Dr. Charles Gardner, SMDHU’s medical officer of health. “The staff person was wearing full personal protection including a face mask and face shield and maintained physical distancing in the school setting.
“With this knowledge all indications are that students, and other school staff would not be considered at higher risk than the general public, and will not need to be tested or quarantined,” Dr. Gardner added. “The precautionary protocols developed in consultation with the province, the health unit and school boards appear to have succeeded in keeping the school community safe.”
The infected individual, who is asymptomatic, is self-isolating at home. Most people who acquire COVID-19, including children, will recover without help. Those at increased risk for severe outcomes are those who are over the age of 70, or have chronic diseases like diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease or cancer. If these vulnerable people are living in the same household as a case, the health unit recommends families have an isolation plan to keep sick children away from the vulnerable person.
“We are working closely with all our schools and school boards to reduce the risk of transmission of COVID-19 as much as possible,” said Dr. Gardner, “and I urge families to do their part too.”
With COVID-19 in our communities you can protect your children, families and others in the community by following these precautions at all times:
- Maintain your social circle of your immediate household members or no more than 10 people.
- Continue to screen your children before they come to school using the COVID-19 self-assessment tool and keep your child home if he or she is ill, or has symptoms of COVID-19.
- Continue to physically distance at least 2 metres from those outside your social circle, wear a face covering when physical distancing is not possible and when in indoor public spaces.
- Wash your hands or use alcohol-based hand sanitizer frequently.
- If you have symptoms of COVID-19, self-isolate and get tested.
For more information on COVID-19, visit the health unit’s Return to School section of on its COVID-19 website, including Frequently Asked Questions, or visit the Simcoe County District School Board’s website. People can also call Health Connection at 705-721-7520 or 1-877-721-7520, Monday to Friday 8:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. and Saturdays 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.