SUDBURY -- Sudbury health officials instructed students from two school bus routes to isolate Thursday after a possible exposure to COVID-19.

The Rainbow District School Board sent a letter to families from Lansdowne Public School warning of the possible exposure on two shared bus routes, the morning route L118 and afternoon route L011. Both of the routes have been cancelled and the affected students, families and bus drivers have been notified.

"This is due to a possible exposure to COVID-19 not related to the school," said Norm Blaseg, the director of education for the school board, in the letter. "There is no confirmed case of COVID-19 at Lansdowne Public School at this time."

The elementary school remains open for in-person instruction.

Families reminded to screen students daily for symptoms prior to attending school.

There are currently COVID outbreaks at two Sudbury area schools, one at St. David and the other at Ecole St-Denis. Both were declared this week.

As of Thursday at 4 p.m., there were 70 active cases of COVID-19 in the Sudbury and Manitoulin Districts. Since Christmas Eve, there have been 160 new infections confirmed, an increase of 38 per cent, and 93 cases have been recorded as resolved, including five COVID-related deaths over the last week. The total number of fatalities due to the disease in Sudbury has reached seven since the pandemic began. Public health officials said the recent surge is caused by gatherings over the holidays.

Of notable concern is the rise in COVID-related hospitalizations. As of noon on Thursday, there were nine patients with an active infection at Health Sciences North and another three awaiting results of testing.