The Cœur-Immaculé primary school, located in Sherbrooke, is closing its doors for two days due to a major COVID-19 outbreak within its walls. As of Monday morning, the establishment had 33 cases divided into 13 of its 34 classes, according to the Regional Directorate of Public Health of Estrie. Almost all grade levels are affected.
The disease has spread like wildfire in this elementary school which has more than 700 students. Health instructions were followed, but the virus took advantage of the relaxation of measures allowed by Quebec to spread, indicates the Dre Mélissa Généreux, medical manager of the expertise unit – community environment at the CIUSSS de l’Estrie-CHUS.
With the lifting of the bubbles-classes, the students could eat with friends of different bubbles during the dinner in the cafeteria, explains the Dre Generous. “You have to understand that, in a small school where we have one or two classes of 4e year, for example, the youngster will stand with his class of 4e year or at most, with the other class. But in a big school [comme celle du Cœur-Immaculé], I may have, over the years, developed friendships with [des élèves d’]one of 5, 6 or 7 classes of 4e year. “
The virus therefore made its way from one class to another. Older students have infected their younger brother or sister, who also attends school. Among the staff, only one teacher contracted the disease and it is not the “index case”, that is to say the one at the origin of the outbreak, specifies the Dre Generous.
To limit the spread, the Regional Public Health Directorate of Estrie recommended the temporary closure of the establishment on Monday and Tuesday. An operation is underway to screen all students in the school, using gargle tests.
“We hope for a return on Wednesday with well-targeted classes who will remain in isolation and others who will perhaps come with reinforced health measures”, says the Dre Generous.
Last I heard, the infected children were doing relatively well under the circumstances, according to the doctor. “About 70% had symptoms, such as cough, fatigue, headache,” says Dr.re Generous. None have been hospitalized so far. “Of course we also know that some gave it to their families, so mom and dad,” she continues. We know that there are parents who are a little less fit. Maybe not hospitalized, but people who had to be sent for mobile screening because they weren’t fit enough to be able to leave the house. “
The Dre Généreux suspects that this important outbreak is related to the Delta variant, but this is not yet confirmed.