As schools opened Wednesday across the Canadian province of Ontario, a new round of news about the air in some buildings came with a sampling of ominous news.
In a letter to parents of Ontario students, the local health department said that the province had confirmed 60 school-reported cases of CODIV – the bad kind of carbon monoxide – in the past week. The numbers rose from the previous week, when the government said it had 52 confirmed cases.
“This is by far the highest number of cases reported to us in more than a month,” said Dr. David Hammond, the medical officer of health for the Peel region, which includes Brampton and Mississauga, in the health department letter. Hammond said there were about 600 schools in the region where there were confirmed cases of CODIV – 11 percent of the 1,660 schools where there were tests of all public schools.
“Since the start of the fall semester, there have been more than 60 confirmed or suspected cases of CODIV at public schools, including in kindergarten through Grade 12 in 16 different school districts,” Hammond said.
The Ontario government health department announcement comes as schools across the country prepare to open their doors to new students.
Last week, a U.S. student and a Canadian grad student were trapped inside a Toronto university dormitory for nearly 12 hours after a power outage caused CO2 poisoning symptoms.
Tuesday night, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation reported that a school bus driver who was a cardiac patient had died after traveling from Ottawa to Brampton and boarding the bus after it broke down. The news report said the man died of carbon monoxide poisoning.
The death of the bus driver, Thirteen Zhi Ye, was confirmed by Wednesday afternoon.