Suspected COVID-19 variants lead to wave of Quebec school closures

At least 10 Quebec schools have now been closed due to detection of possible COVID-19 variants, health authorities say.

The majority of schools are located in Montreal, along with one in Quebec City and another in Abitibi.

On Monday morning, the Laval regional health authority announced the closure of groups or entire facilities in four schools due possible variant infections. The schools are Pere-Vimont, St-Maxime, Eureka and Equinoxe.

On Saturday, the Marguerite-d'Youville School, located in the Cap-Rouge area of Quebec City, announced it would close due to a suspected case of a COVID-19 variant.

Grands-Etres, an elementary school in St-Laurent, was completely closed for several reasons, including the suspected presence of a variant.

The temporary closure of Blainville's Fontainebleau School was also announced.

Last week, the Quebec Institute of Public Health reported a new variant of COVID-19 could strike schools first, since schools are one of the places with the most person-to-person contact.

New variants of the virus are more transmissible than the basic strain.

As of Monday, 23 cases of variants have been confirmed in Quebec, along with 415 presumptive cases.

In total, there are now 875 classes that have been closed in the province, down 90 from Friday. There are currently 2,501 students and 466 staff members with active COVID-19 infections, according to a report published on Feb. 18.  

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