Glen Avon School was notified over the weekend of another COVID-19 case in the school.
Because there are two active cases at the school, it is now declared an "outbreak" according to how Alberta Health Services tracks cases. The most recent case has already been confirmed by AHS.
The school has been attempting to reach students and staff identified as close contacts, but states on social media that it is waiting for a few families to return phone calls.
Original Story published on Nov. 6
ST. PAUL - After a rather confusing week, a COVID-19 case at Glen Avon school has been confirmed to be positive by Alberta Health Services, despite the provincial health authority notifying St. Paul Education the day prior that the individual had tested negative.
On Nov. 3, St. Paul Education sent out a letter saying the division learned an individual from the school had tested positive for COVID-19. In the letter, it also stated the division was waiting on official confirmation from AHS. The school serves students from kindergarten to Grade 9.
On Nov. 5, another letter was sent out stating the division had learned from AHS that the individual was not positive, and the impacted students and staff could return to school on Friday.
In the afternoon of Nov. 6, Superintendent Glen Brodziak said he received a call from AHS, stating the individual in question was positive for COVID-19.
"Our understanding is that there was an error at the lab, and the individual has been positive all along," reads a letter, signed by Brodziak.
"This news is concerning to us all, and I can only imagine the stress put on the students, staff and families who have been told they are close contacts," says Brodziak.
On Friday, close contacts were told they must return to isolation and adjust any personal plans accordingly.
Brodziak apologized for the confusion and noted that the division takes direction from AHS.
"Before taking any actions yesterday, we consulted with AHS and received two levels of confirmation from AHS that the student was negative," says Brodziak, in the letter. He adds that the mistake is "highly concerning."
"As the superintendent, I am asking AHS how this could possibly have happened and what will be put in place to ensure that this does not occur again."
He adds that the safety and well-being of students, staff and the greater community continues to be a main priority.
A letter was also sent out by AHS, confirming that public health staff are investigating a case of COVID-19 at Glen Avon School.
Area still under watch
As of Nov. 6, all residents and visitors of communities on the watch list must follow the mandatory 15-person limit on social and family gatherings, indoors and outdoors. Smoky Lake County, County of St. Paul, MD of Bonnyville and the City of Cold Lake, as shown on the provincial map, are all under watch status.
This applies to all social gatherings, including but not limited to:
- banquets and award ceremonies
- wedding or funeral receptions
- luncheons or potlucks
- parties: birthday, baby showers, retirement, dinners, backyard BBQs
- other private social gatherings and functions
The restrictions do not apply to structure events, including seated-audience conferences, sports and shows; restaurants; fitness centres; funeral services; wedding ceremonies; or worship services, according to the Government of Alberta.
The province is also asking people to limit their cohorts to three - their household, school and one other sport or social group.
"There is a time lag between transmission and new case identification. This means the cases we see today were infected up to 2 weeks ago," according to the Government of Alberta.
*This story was updated to reflect the information regarding the areas being under watch status.