Health unit reports probable case of COVID-19 tied to private school in St. Thomas, Ont.

Southwestern Public Health (SWPH) says there is a “probable case of COVID-19” involving a member of the school community at St. Thomas Community Christian School in St. Thomas.

In a release on Friday, the health unit said that immediately after being notified, public health staff began work to find the source of transmission and to identify and notify close contacts.

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A probable case is defined by the province as a case in a person who has not had a laboratory test but has symptoms compatible with the coronavirus and who has either travelled to an affected area, had close contact with an already confirmed case, or lived or worked in a facility known to be experiencing an outbreak.

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A probable case could also potentially involve someone with symptoms compatible with COVID-19 “in whom laboratory diagnosis of COVID-19 is inconclusive.”

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The health unit has not said whether the case involves a student or staff member but said school principal Jason Schouten sent out an email to the broader school community providing members with “instructions about next steps.”

As of Friday, SWPH said it was “in the process” of notifying close contacts.

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“School administrators and our public health team are working in partnership to ensure everyone is informed and knows what to do next so that the risk of the virus spreading further is minimized,” says medical officer of health Dr. Joyce Lock.

Schouten said the school’s commitment is to keep its community safe.

“We’re following public health recommendations, working closely with our public health school nurse and making sure everyone is well supported and well informed throughout this process.”

Click to play video 'Ontario’s private schools’ plan for reopening in the fall'

Ontario’s private schools’ plan for reopening in the fall

Ontario’s private schools’ plan for reopening in the fall

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