Ottawa Public Health Launches COVID-19 Back to School Webpage for Parents

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He talks about what it will take for a school outbreak to be declared publicly, and how families will be notified if there are cases in their children’s schools.

The Ottawa Public Health (OPH) plan to manage COVID-19 outbreaks in schools is not much different from the way it manages outbreaks in daycares or workplaces today.OPH launched ottawapublichealth.ca/schoolscovid19 on Tuesday, August 18 to answer any questions parents have regarding the city’s back-to-school plan, as well as to offer resources on health promotion and mental health.

Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Vera Etches encourages parents to visit the page regularly as it should be constantly updated with new information.

She says they are still awaiting final guidelines from the province, but starting Tuesday, Aug. 18, the back-to-school plan includes encouraging children and school staff to get tested when they show symptoms. of COVID-19. When a positive case is identified in a school, Dr Etches explains that families of close contacts will be notified by SPO and that the student or staff member will be required to self-isolate for 14 days, along with anyone found to be at risk.

“Everyone understands that parents want as much information as possible,” says the Chief Medical Officer of Health. “And here, locally in Ottawa, it’s important to have the information you need to protect your family and make decisions for yourself. So really, for those parents in a school where there is a case and there is no epidemic, we will contact the parents who need to know. ”

A school outbreak will only be publicly declared if there are two or more cases that PHO believes are related to each other, or to the school environment. Dr. Etches does not plan to close schools in these situations; SPO would simply contact all parties suspected of being at risk for transmission and force people to self-isolate.

Dr Etches says students and school staff don’t need to get tested for COVID-19 before they return to school and kids won’t need a doctor’s note after recovering from an episode of COVID-19, they should just be symptom-free.

Additionally, OPH says it hopes to improve its testing capacity this fall in case there is an increase in COVID-19 cases in the community. At present, it tests around 1,500 people every day. Officials say they want to increase that figure to 2,500 or 3,000 this fall, and then 5,000 to 7,000 early next year.

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