School board COVID case poses no public risk: NWHU

Staff Writer
Natali Trivuncic

A staff member with the Rainy River District School Board has tested positive for COVID-19, but board officials and the Northwestern Health Unit agree that the case brings no risk to the student body.

Heather Latter, community outreach officer for the RRDSB, said in an email that the board was informed about the positive test result on Friday, November 13, at which time they immediately notified the public. However, because the staff member had not been in a board facility for more than 14 days prior to the diagnosis, the board was advised by the Northwestern Health Unit (NWHU) that there is no risk of exposure to any staff or student.

The NWHU has not been notified of the case, because the individual is not a resident within the NWHU and has not been in the region since late October and therefore was never considered an active case at the school. The case was also never on the provincial COVID-19 in Schools database, because the individual was never actively infectious while on school property.

The staff member had been notified in October that they were a possible close contact of an active case. The individual notified Human Resources, and in accordance with protocol, has been working from home ever since.

Dr. Kit Young Hoon, medical officer of health at the NWHU said a case such as this one would not be reported to the NWHU because it is not relevant to the health risk of the region.

“If someone lives in a different region, and also has never actually been in our region while they were infectious then we wouldn’t get notified.” Young Hoon said.

Since the NWHU was not informed of the case, they cannot verify any details associated with it, but there is currently no concerns for an outbreak, she said. An outbreak would be declared if there are at least two lab confirmand cases with either a student or staff member within 14 days. As well, at least one case of infection acquired in the school.

Young Hoon said that if cases are reported at a school they would work with the school to follow up on contacts.

“From my perspective schools and school boards have been working really hard and working with us. They’ve been very cooperative in helping manage case contact follow up,” Young Hoon adds.

Young Hoon and the school board both said due to privacy reasons, information about the staff member, including which country or region they reside in or which school they’re employed at, cannot be disclosed to the public.