COVID-19 outbreak declared at Saskatoon school after discovery of variant case
SASKATOON -- A coronavirus outbreak has been declared at a Saskatoon school after a variant case was identified there.
The Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA) notified Saskatoon Public Schools of the outbreak declaration at North Park Wilson School on Wednesday, the division said in a news release.
"To date, the school division has been notified of five positive cases of COVID-19 at North Park Wilson," the division said in a news release.
"The most recent case came on Tuesday and the SHA has identified it as a COVID-19 variant of concern."
The division is recommending all students and staff get tested.
Classes are scheduled to resume April 12 following the break, the division said.
There were 189 variant cases confirmed in the Saskatoon area as of April 7, according to the province's COVID-19 update on Thursday. That's up from 18 as of March 29.
The B.1.1.7 variant accounts for nearly all of the cases in Saskatchewan where the variant strain has been positively identified.
The variant, which first emerged in the U.K. last fall, can potentially spread faster and be transmitted quicker than the original COVID-19 strain, according to health experts.
Data suggests the variant can lead to more severe outcomes and hit younger patients harder than the original novel coronavirus strain.