First student tests positive in Pembroke outbreak

A further update from the Renfrew County and District Health Unit notes that there has been a fifth positive case identified in the COVID-19 outbreak at Fellowes High School in Pembroke, this time a student.

In a statement released Friday morning, the health unit said the individual was part of “the initial small cohort of students identified at risk” and now brings the total number of cases at Fellowes High School to 5; 1 student and 4 staff members.

The health unit said it has also received negative test results for all but 1 other staff member and 1 other student in the original class that was exposed to the staff cases.

“This morning (Friday) RCDHU is running a second pop up testing clinic at 7 International Drive for the remaining staff and students from the high school.

“Yesterday RCDHU tested 98 individuals, 83 staff and 15 students. Almost all the staff from the school were tested along with students who were considered to be at highest risk.”

The health unit said it will “continue to update the school community and the public daily.”

“In the meantime, RCDHU asks everyone to rigorously observe public health precautions” including limiting social activities, practicing social distancing, wearing a mask, and washing hands frequently with soap and water or using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.

Fellowes became the first school in Ontario to be closed for a COVID-19 outbreak after three staff members tested positive between Friday and Wednesday.

A fourth individual, also a member of the school’s staff, tested positive on Thursday.

“We all have COVID-19 fatigue, but this is a marathon and we are in a key phase with new challenges,” Dr. Robert Cushman, acting medical officer of health for Renfrew County and District, said Wednesday after ordering the school closed.

“If we want schools to stay open and the economy to progress, we must recognize that individual vigilance and strict observance of public health measures are imperative.

“This is not the time to let down our guard but rather just the opposite.”

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