F.W. Begley Outbreak: Dedicated COVID-19 Testing Set Up For Students & Staff

Wednesday November 18th, 2020

Posted at 10:36am

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The Windsor Essex County Health Unit has released additional details about the COVID-19 outbreak at F.W. Begley Elementary School.

Dr. Wajid Ahmed, Medical Officer of Health for Windsor-Essex, says three staff members became infected with COVID-19 “within a reasonable time period to suspect transmission at the school.”

He says the Health Unit is conducting contact tracing on the three positive staff members and that they are required to self-isolate for 14 days.

“As a result of further investigation we felt it was necessary to err on the side of caution to protect all our children and dismiss the entire school to break any chain of transmission,” he said.

Dr. Ahmed says the entire school is considered high-risk for transmission and the Health Unit has not yet been able to identify the origin or ‘index case’ of the spread. He says staff and students should self-monitor for symptoms each day and get tested if any symptoms appear.

“I think it’s the right time to go and get tested,” he said. “The slightest moment that you feel you’re getting symptoms, go get tested.”

Testing For Staff & Students

Health Unit CEO Theresa Marentette says dedicated testing has been arranged for the Begley community.  Students and staff will be able to get tested at the COVID-19 testing centre at the Met campus of Windsor Regional Hospital on a walk-in basis.

The testing centre will be open for students and staff from noon until 7:00pm on Wednesday, and from 7:00am to 7:00pm on Thursday and Friday.

Details For Parents

Marentette says given the diversity of the Begley community, materials explaining the outbreak for parents and guardians have been translated into several languages.  She says Health Unit staff are also on site at the school Wednesday to help explain the situation to parents.

“The one question that we continue to get is ‘if I’m the parent, am I at risk?’ Marentette said.

“The children would be deemed high-risk contacts and that’s why they’re asked to self-isolate and to self-monitor their symptoms,” she said. “The parents or any other caregiver is a contact of a contact and they’re not at risk.”

Marentette clarified that the students of the school are required to self-isolate for 14 days, in their homes, “away from others as much as possible.”

“That means staying home, not going out and about,” she said.

Marentette says some measures that should be taken include not sharing items like cups and utensils, using a separate washroom if possible, cleaning in-between washroom uses, and “ensuring the child has a separate room, if that’s possible.”

She says parents, caregivers and family members, as “contacts of contacts” do not however have to isolate.

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