Outcomes from the first asymptomatic testing clinics being held in schools across Simcoe County are not yet fully known.
The clinics, being overseen by the Ministry of Education and administered by LifeLabs, started last week in Simcoe County. Through the public board, the first clinic took place at Bradford District High School, while the Catholic school board’s first clinic took place at St. Joan of Arc Catholic High School in Barrie.
The provincial government will provide overall numbers on the testing, which is updated every Friday at 10:30 a.m. and will divide reporting by individual school board.
As of March 5, no COVID cases identified through asymptomatic testing have been reported by the ministry in any Simcoe County schools. However, as the Simcoe County school boards are not listed at all in the province’s reporting on Friday, this indicates that Simcoe County’s testing numbers were not included as part of last week’s provincial numbers.
When contacted on Friday by Village Media to ask for further clarity, Ministry of Education representative Ingrid Anderson pointed to the reporting being done on the provincial website regarding asymptomatic testing in schools.
“Please reach out to the local public health unit for further information on testing results,” said Anderson.
Village Media reached out to the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit on Friday regarding reporting clinic outcomes, and were told to contact the Ministry of Education or the school boards.
On Monday, a spokesperson for the Simcoe Muskoka Catholic District School Board said they were not provided with any information on clinic outcomes that could be shared.
“We are not provided any information about whether a positive case is related to a clinic,” said Pauline Stevenson, communications manager with the Simcoe Muskoka Catholic District School Board.
According to a spokesperson for the public school board, 274 tests were completed as a result of their initial clinic.
“We got that information because it was the first clinic, which they said was one of the highest (turnouts) in the province,” said Sarah Kekewich, communications manager with the Simcoe County District School Board. Officials with the public school board confirmed that all reporting on the outcomes of the clinics will be reported through the Ministry of Education only.
Both Simcoe County school boards are using the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test for their clinics, which are administered through LifeLabs. Results for the PCR test take about 48 hours.
On March 3, the Catholic board had their first testing clinic at St. Joan of Arc Catholic High School in Barrie, with students from St. Catherine of Siena Catholic School, St. Nicholas Catholic School, St. Bernadette Catholic School, Our Lady of Grace Catholic School and The Good Shepherd Catholic School also invited to attend.
Two COVID-19 cases are being reported as of late Sunday at The Good Shepherd Catholic School, however the Catholic school board could not confirm whether these cases were found through the clinic, or through regular testing.
On March 4, the public school board had its first clinic at Bradford District High School. Students and staff from Chris Hadfield Public School, Fred C. Cook Elementary School, Fieldcrest Elementary School and W.H. Day Elementary School also attended.
One case has been reported as of Monday at Chris Hadfield Public School and two more at Bradford District High School, however the public school board could not confirm if these cases were found through their clinic, or through regular testing.
Through the Simcoe County District School Board, this week’s asymptomatic testing clinic will be taking place on Thursday, March 11 from 3:30-8 p.m. at Eastview Secondary School, located at 421 Grove St. E., in Barrie. Students and staff from Eastview Secondary School, Johnson Street Public School, Maple Grove Public School, Steele Street Public School and Terry Fox Elementary School are also all eligible to attend.
Through the Simcoe Muskoka Catholic District School Board, this week’s asymptomatic testing clinic will be taking place on Wednesday, March 10 from 3-7 p.m. at St. Peter's Catholic Secondary School at 201 Ashford Dr., in Barrie. Students from St. John Vianney Catholic School, St. John Paul II Separate School, St. Michael the Archangel, Saint Gabriel the Archangel Catholic Elementary School, Holy Cross Catholic School and St. Francis of Assisi Catholic School are also eligible to attend.
For more information on asymptomatic testing clinics in schools in Simcoe County, click here.