Goal is to keep schools open during COVID-19 pandemic: Dr. Etches

OTTAWA — As the number of cases of COVID-19 in Ottawa’s schools continues to rise, Ottawa’s medical officer of health says her goal is to keep schools open for students this fall.

Ottawa Public Health has declared COVID-19 outbreaks at four Ottawa schools: College Catholique Franco-Ouest, Gabrielle Roy Public School, Ecole elementaire Catholique Montfort and Monsignor Paul Baxter School.

As of Wednesday, COVID-19 cases had been reported in 48 schools across Ottawa.

Speaking on CTV Morning Live Thursday morning, host Leslie Roberts asked Dr. Vera Etches about the concerns of parents and teachers with the rising number of cases in Ottawa schools.

“I stand on the firm goal of keeping schools open. We look at other countries; they’ve been able to do it. You make it a priority,” said Dr. Etches.

“What it takes is limiting the COVID in our community. That is why I’m telling people now is the time to change the curve again, because it’s affecting parents and families and teachers, and their ability to keep schools open.”

Ottawa Public Health reported 65 new COVID-19 cases on Wednesday, and 93 new cases on Tuesday.

Host Leslie Roberts asked Dr. Etches if parents should feel comfortable about sending their children to school during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Of course there’s no guarantee it’s not going to happen in your child’s classroom,” said Dr. Etches.

“The thing we want to keep in mind with this virus is most people will make it through very easily at home, with fluids, with over the counter medication. It is not a situation where we want the community level to rise because that does increase the risk for children.”

A COVID-19 outbreak is declared in a school once it has been determined that two individuals have tested positive with an epidemiological link.

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