Ontario reports 158 new COVID-19 cases in its schools; 3 schools closed

COVID-19 safety information is posted on the wall of Yorkwoods Public School, in Toronto, Ont., on Wednesday, Aug., 26, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Christopher Katsarov

Ontario reported another 158 COVID-19 cases in its public schools on Thursday, 20 more than it did at this point last week, as overall case growth continues to slow.

The Ministry of Health said 135 of the cases were detected in students and 22 in staff members, while the association of one other case was not disclosed.

There are now 1,627 known active cases of COVID-19 associated with the public school system, representing approximately 30 per cent of all known active cases in Ontario.

It’s an increase of 45 cases from Wednesday.

Last week, cases in schools were rising by an average of more than 100 per day.

Three of the province’s 4,844 publicly funded schools are closed, including one in Courtice, Ont. and another in London, Ont.

At this point in last school year, where boards reopened approximately one week later in September on average, there were 302 known active cases of COVID-19 in Ontario schools.

A count of data disclosed by the school boards of the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area by CP24 on Thursday found 732 active cases, 22 fewer than on Wednesday.

There are at least 240 classrooms and cohorts that have been dismissed to home due to confirmed exposures.

Yesterday, Ontario Chief Medical Officer Dr. Kieran Moore confirmed new programs to detect COVID-19 in children at schools experiencing outbreaks and in high-risk areas would be coming online in the near future.

This came after the province stopped allowing parents to access free rapid antigen tests through programs designed to supply tests to businesses.