A media release received late Wednesday afternoon from Renfrew County and District Health Unit (RCDHU) announced the closure of Fellowes High School in Pembroke, as follows:
A third staff member, a contact of both individuals who have tested positive for COVID-19, has tested positive based on a result received today.
As the most recently identified case has worked in three additional classrooms, Renfrew County and District Health Unit (RCDHU) is closing the school until further notice to ensure aggressive follow-up and timely testing of individuals considered at risk. RCDHU is continuing to work closely with Fellowes High School on this evolving situation.
Upon reviewing the situation with both the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Education, RCDHU has decided this is a necessary measure at this time in order to determine the full extent of the outbreak and to prevent further spread. RCDHU will provide daily updates on the situation.
In the meantime, all students and staff at Fellowes High School are asked to self-monitor for symptoms. Further direction will be given to those who have been identified as a contact to a case. Anyone with symptoms should self-isolate and contact the Renfrew County Virtual Triage Assessment Centre (RCVTAC) at 1- 844-727-6404 to book an appointment for testing. For COVID-19 testing dates and times visit the RCVTAC testing schedule.
“The harsh lesson learned from this outbreak is that we need to remind ourselves how each and every one of us should conduct ourselves in the time of COVID-19,” states Dr. Cushman, Acting Medical Officer of Health, RCDHU.
As a reminder, if you are symptomatic, stay home. Don’t go to work. Have a “low bar” for COVID-19 symptoms as they can mimic anything and everything, including health problems you may have had in the past. Do not make your own diagnosis, leave that to the health professionals and to the testing. If you are sick and are being tested, those in your immediate household should also stay at home and monitor themselves for symptoms while awaiting the result of your test.
Dr. Cushman advises residents to “limit your social activities and keep your bubble small” as we have seen all too well what gyms, barbeques, bars, and parties can do. In Ottawa, one individual who was sick resulted in 40 individuals testing positive for COVID-19.
We need to constantly practice handwashing, physical distancing, masking, and use the COVID Alert App. Be sure to:
• Clean your hands frequently with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand rub.
• Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze, then clean your hands.
• If you don’t have a tissue, sneeze or cough into your sleeve and then clean your hands.
• Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth, unless you have just cleaned your hands.
• If you are ill, stay home.
• Avoid contact with people who are sick.
• Get your flu shot.
Dr. Cushman states, “We all have COVID-19 fatigue, but this is a marathon and we are in a key phase with new challenges. If we want schools to stay open and the economy to progress, we must recognize that individual vigilance and strict observance of public health measures are imperative. This is not the time to let down our guard but rather just the opposite.”
If you think you may have COVID-19 symptoms or have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19, first self-isolate and then use Ontario’s Self-Assessment Tool to see if you need to seek further care.
For all other information, visit RCDHU’s website at https://www.rcdhu.com/novel-coronavirus-covid-19-2/ or call 613-735-8654.
Renfrew County and District Health Unit(2020,Sept.16) RCDHU closes Fellowes High School [media release]
Photo Twitter/Fellowes High School