By Charlie Senack, Barrhaven Independent
A COVID-19 outbreak at a Barrhaven elementary school has more than doubled over the weekend.
Half Moon Bay Public School, located on River Run Avenue, currently has 68 active infections. Those include: 66 cases in students, one staff case, and one third party case.
The school closed on Dec. 6 after a growing outbreak was declared. By Friday afternoon, the school was up 31 active infections, a number which more than doubled over the weekend.
Parents tell the Barrhaven Independent they received an email stating the school would not re-open the following Monday, and to prepare for the closure to last until at least the Christmas break.
The rising outbreak comes as Barrhaven reports a surge in COVID-19 transmission, with Ottawa Public Health saying some neighbourhoods in the community are reporting double the city average.
A handful of schools are reporting an active COVID-19 outbreak in Barrhaven as the numbers keep climbing. On Friday, Ottawa’s Public Health unit said there were 10 active school outbreaks in Barrhaven and Riverside South, “and many others have cases and cohorts dismissed.”
This week rapid tests will also be given to students at some schools in the community which are reporting high COVID case counts.
“These tests will be made available to all Barrhaven-Riverside South area schools currently experiencing a declared or possible outbreak. Students will be provided with a kit of Rapid Antigen Tests to use three times per week (Monday/Wednesday/Friday) prior to the holiday break,” Ottawa Public Health said in a statement. “Students may begin to use these tests as soon as they are received and continue to do so for the 1 to 2 weeks of school remaining before the holiday break. The use of these rapid antigen tests in students is voluntary, and is only intended to be used by students who are asymptomatic and have not been told to isolate due to a high-risk exposure. Students will be directed to use these rapid antigen tests at home prior to attending school as an added layer of screening.”
A number of parents have reached out to the Barrhaven Independent stating that with only one week left before the Christmas holidays, they are opting to keep their kids at home as a precaution.
Despite COVID-19 case counts rising province-wide, no new restrictions are coming into effect — at least for now. Dr. Kieran Moore, the provinces top doctor, says they have no intentions to close schools, adding: “they should be the first to open and last to close.”
On Monday, Dec. 13, Ontario recorded 1,536 new COVID-19 cases, 634 of which were not fully vaccinated. Ottawa recorded 116 new infections, a six month single-day high.
All COVID-19 vaccine appointments for the 12+ population are currently booked until January 2, however Ottawa Public Health is trying to open up more appointments. Pharmacies in Ottawa continue to offer vaccines to eligible residents.