The Durham District School Board (DDSB) in Durham, Ontario, Canada, has apologized after sharing the names of employees who are either unvaccinated or have refused to disclose their vaccination status. The names were shared with a group of almost 400 people.
The accident happened on January 5th. That day, the board accidentally sent out a “routine email” regarding staff members who had complied with a guideline for getting the COVID-19 rapid test.
The email had inadvertently attached a spreadsheet containing information about approximately 800 employees who were either unvaccinated or did not disclose their vaccination status.
The school district, which employs nearly 10,000, has a policy that allows unvaccinated workers to continue working as long as they submit evidence of negative COVID-19 rapid testing.
As soon as the board realized its mistake, it “reportedly took immediate action” to revoke the email.
“This incident should not have happened and we have notified, apologized to and followed up with the approximately 800 employees who were affected,” DDSB Education Director Norah Marsh wrote in an email to staff. The Toronto star reported.
“The confidence of our employees is very important to us and we know that with this incident we have fallen short,” the apologetic email continued. “DDSB is committed to doing its utmost to ensure that a similar incident does not occur in the future.”
The DDSB’s statement on the incident mentioned the importance of protecting the private medical information of others. The board has since provided its employees with further training in secure documents. DDSB also reviews additional security measures that may be necessary to ensure employees’ proper handling of similar information.
As of January 9, about 2,419 people in Ontario were placed in local hospitals because of COVID-19, Durham Radio News reported. Of these, 412 were placed in the intensive care unit and 226 of them were placed in respirator.
On the same day, the province reported 11,959 new COVID-19 cases.
But because people with symptoms are not always publicly tested or reported to hospitals, and because people may have asymptomatic COVID-19 that is never diagnosed, the number of new cases is likely to be an underestimation, Public Health Ontario told the aforementioned news media.
“The dramatic increase in the number of cases related to the new, highly contagious Omicron variant is straining our already challenged hospital system,” wrote Dr. Dan Ricciuto in a column on the 7th. Durham region, a local publication.
“Over the last two weeks, positive cases of COVID-19 have increased exponentially,” Ricciuto added. “Every day we see a growing inability of our hospitals across Ontario and here in [the] The Durham region to meet expected demand, “he added.
Ricciuto and the province’s public health officials have advised others to get vaccinated as it reduces the severity of symptoms and the likelihood of hospitalization.