Windsor's Frank W. Begley Public School reporting 37 confirmed COVID-19 cases
WINDSOR, ONT. -- A Windsor school has seen a dramatic increase in COVID-19 cases.
The Windsor-Essex County Health Unit reported on Monday there are 37 confirmed cases and two probable cases at Frank W. Begley Elementary School.
According to the province’s website, it is the largest outbreak in an Ontario school.
WECHU says 29 students and eight staff members have tested positive.The presumed index case is believed to be a staff member.
“They could be the one who spread it to the rest of the school,” says Ahmed. “It’s not to blame that index case, that this happened because they didn’t follow anything, but I think it’s just how we are trying to work through an outbreak investigation.”
Ahmed says they can’t pinpoint where the presumed index case acquired the virus. The earliest case was reported on Nov. 8.
The health unit declared an outbreak at the school on Tuesday and students and staff members were dismissed.
“Dismissing the entire school really helped us from a control perspective, so there was no ongoing spread,” says Ahmed.
He adds they are still trying to paint a picture of how the cases spread between cohorts.
Windsor Regional Hospital set up dedicated clinics for the school community to get tested.There are about 430 students and staff members at the school. The health unit says 283 students, 47 staff and 141 family members have been tested as a result of this initiative.
Windsor-Essex ETFO president Mario Spagnolo says he’s not surprised the numbers are climbing in the elementary school, saying teachers have said all along that class sizes need to be capped at 15 students.
“There’s been a lot of wait and see and hope for the best and this is what we get,” says Spagnolo.
Spagnolo says they’re glad the health unit shut the school down completely, saying time is clearly of the essence.
“Waiting an extra day, who knows what could have happened? It would have been worse there’s no question about it,” adds Spagnolo.
He says teachers are giving online lessons to the students.
“Today our teachers are providing online instruction to the student but at the same time with anxiety, in those families, anxiety with our teachers in terms of they’re waiting for test results, their families are self-isolating they’re self-isolating themselves, so obviously it’s a very negative situation,” says Spagnolo.
There is also an outbreak at W. J. Langlois Catholic Elementary School, where two students and two staff members have tested positive for the virus. The school is also closed.