A COVID-19 outbreak was declared at Boissevain School on Friday, adding a second outbreak to the local community after its health centre and a personal care home had an outbreak announced Thursday.
The school already had its students learning remotely this week after three previous COVID-19 cases were reported, and those plans have now been extended until April 23, with the facility moving to level orange on the province’s pandemic response system.
It is currently the only outbreak declared at a school in Manitoba.
According to the province’s online COVID-19 dashboard, there are now 13 cases of the virus at the school, affecting two staff members and 11 non-staff. The dashboard does not show how many cases are active, such as it does for other outbreaks.
In an email to the Sun, a spokesperson for Manitoba Health said that the cases at Boissevain Health Centre and Evergreen Place personal care home are connected and it is considered a single outbreak.
There are two cases connected to that outbreak, both in staff members. Only one of the two cases is considered active.
The Manitoba Health spokesperson would not say whether both outbreaks in Boissevain are connected, how public health believes the cases have spread or if a variant of concern is involved.
"If a public health risk is assessed and it is deemed necessary to protect the health of others, additional information will be released," the spokesperson wrote.
Speaking to the Sun by phone, Municipality of Boissevain-Morton Head of Council Judy Swanson said she believes residents are taking the matter seriously and are doing what they can to control the outbreaks.
"It’s unfortunate that we have a COVID outbreak in our community, but we’re certainly not the first to have one," she said. "I’ve been in touch with the school division and Prairie Mountain Health and they’ve been helpful to keep us abreast of what’s going on. The last I heard, the cases are, in my opinion, pretty much contained."
Swanson said she believes there will be more cases due to close contacts, but the situation is under control. She acknowledged there is some COVID fatigue in year two of the pandemic, but urged locals to follow the fundamentals to stop the virus’s spread.
"We will get through this," she said. "It’s just unfortunate that it happened, but it did, and I’m hopeful everyone will get through it and there won’t be huge consequences to individual people for it. Hopefully, everyone will get well again."
Municipal updates on the outbreaks can be found on its Facebook page, visiting boissevain.ca or calling the town office at 204-534-2433 during business hours.
» Twitter: @ColinSlark