2 students test positive for COVID-19 in North York in 1st Toronto school outbreak

Toronto

2 students test positive for COVID-19 in North York in 1st Toronto school outbreak

Two students have tested positive for the novel coronavirus at a North York elementary school. Elsewhere in Toronto, the city's top public health official has ordered four hospitality businesses to close for breaking the rules.

2 classes will be self-isolating for 14 days, city's chief medical officer says

Two classes are self-isolating after students tested positive at Glen Park Public School in North York. (CBC Toronto)

Two students have tested positive for COVID-19 at a North York elementary school, marking the city's first school-based outbreak. 

Two class cohorts at Glen Park Public School— one with 17 children and the other with 18 — were sent home to self-isolate for 14 days, said Dr. Eileen de Villa, the city's medical officer of health, at a news conference Friday afternoon.

“All steps have been followed as expected in a situation of this nature,” she said.

Parents in the school community were notified in writing, she said, adding that protocols at the school continue to be strictly followed, including masking requirements and enhanced cleaning measures. 

“One of the realities of living in a world with COVID-19 is that there will be cases in schools,” de Villa said. 

“Today's news is expected. I expect there will be similar announcements in future and you can be confident the steps developed to manage the situation and reduce the risk of spread will be followed,” she added. 

This occurrence qualifies as an outbreak, de Villa said, because it fits the definition of at least two cases within a 14-day period with one at least linked to the school. 

And she said declaring it as an outbreak means a swift response.

“That's really what the point of declaring the outbreak is,” she said. “[It's] to make sure that you're marshalling all the resources necessary, that the appropriate attention is paid to the circumstances so that we can manage the risk and reduce transmission.” 

The Toronto District School Board posted on Twitter that it had updated its mask guidelines as a result of rising cases in the city, as well as due to confirmed cases in their community. 

4 Toronto businesses caught breaking COVID-19 rules

Toronto's top public health official also ordered four hospitality businesses to close on Friday after it was discovered they weren't following the rules. 

The businesses were flouting public health protocols and evading investigators, de Villa said. She added that some were pressuring staff to work even when sick.

The businesses, whose names she did not share because the operation to shut them down was not yet complete, will be allowed to reopen once the city is satisfied they'll follow the rules. 

“In these circumstances, the action taken is the right action to protect your health. The names of the affected businesses and their locations will be released to media once the process of serving the orders is completed,” she said. 

While the reasons for the closures were “distinct” to each business, de Villa said Toronto Public Health found that “many people” were connected to more than one of the four businesses.

De Villa said some people who were infected with COVID-19 worked at more than one of the four locations.

In one instance, a business was also found to serve food buffet-style, which is prohibited by provincial regulations. 

She added that the operators of the locations were so uncooperative that the city's investigation efforts were “significantly impeded.” 

Businesses who have complied with the city's investigations, she said, are commended for stepping up. 

With files from The Canadian Press

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