Eight COVID-19 cases, variants of concern confirmed at Hapnot, McIsaac: provincial health

Eight cases of COVID-19 have now been found in people from Ecole McIsaac School and Hapnot Collegiate - including two confirmed cases of variants of concern.

The provincial COVID-19 school dashboard shows that six cases were recently (within the past two weeks) reported at McIsaac, with two others at Hapnot. Each school has one case listed on the provincial dashboard as a variant of concern case.

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"A school case is defined as a staff/student/volunteer affiliated with a K-12 school in Manitoba who tested positive for COVID-19 and was present in the school during the 28 days prior to the public health report date. If public health officials cannot rule out the possibility that the person was at the school during that time, then the case is classified as a school case. A school case does not necessarily mean there was acquisition or transmission at the school," reads the provincial school case dashboard.

While cases have been found at both schools, no outbreak has been officially declared by the province in either facility. No cases or outbreaks within the Flin Flon School Division (FFSD) have been announced in COVID-19 press briefings or news releases.

Whether or not a series of cases is considered an outbreak is down to two factors - the number of people infected and whether they got COVID-19 inside or outside the school.

"An outbreak is defined as two or more school cases of COVID-19 diagnosed within a 14-day period with evidence of transmission occurring within the school. If public health officials cannot determine a connection between the cases, then no outbreak is declared," reads the dashboard.

While nearly 300 cases of COVID-19 variants of concern have been reported within the Northern Health Region (NHR), the two cases reported in the schools are the first two variant cases confirmed in Flin Flon by health officials. Health district by health district case data is not publicly shown for COVID-19 variants of concern cases in Manitoba.

All four schools operated by the Flin Flon School Division, along with Creighton Community School administered by the Creighton School Division, moved into remote learning this week after cases were reported in most of the area's schools. Several cohorts were affected by cases at McIsaac, Hapnot and Creighton due to COVID-19 cases found within, with students and their families ordered to isolate and self-monitor for symptoms.

All FFSD students, with the exception of the children of some critical service workers or students considered to have special needs or be at risk, are learning from home until at least June 9.

Other northern schools that have seen recent cases include two schools in The Pas (Ecole Opasquia School, where two non-variant cases were found and one non-variant case at Margaret Barbour Collegiate) as well as Frontier Mosakahiken School in Moose Lake/Mosakahiken Cree Nation (three recent cases, all non-variants) and Grand Rapids School (six cases, all non-variants).

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