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B.C. resumes online posting of COVID ‘potential exposure events’ in schools

Health ministry back pedals after parents expressed worry about no online notifications
Avalynn Kwok, 4, holds her dad Manny Kwok’s hand outside Lynn Valley Elementary School as her parents drop her off for her first day of kindergarten in North Vancouver, B.C., Thursday, Sept. 9, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

The province will begin posting “potential exposure events” in schools online once again starting Tuesday (Sept. 28).

That update came from a COVID-19 update from provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix after parents had expressed concerns that B.C. did not plan to post exposures online. However, letters will not be sent out widely. Families who need to take additional measures after an exposure will be contacted directly.

A presentation from the province stated that the school and dates of the exposure will be posted if “a person (staff or student) attended school while infectious, and there is an increased risk of COVID-19 to the groups they were a part of. For most instances, this will be their classroom(s).”

The update comes as cases have risen sharply in school-aged children. There were 658 new cases in children ages five to 11 last week – out of a total of10,412 since the pandemic began – and 261 in teens ages 12 to 17 – out of a total of 11,056 since the pandemic started.

Children under the age of 12 are not yet eligible to be vaccinated.

Henry said that while overall cases of children have gone up, test positivity rates have stayed the same in the 12 to 17 age group. However, test positivity continues to increase in children ages five to 11.

She said, however, that the increased cases in young school aged children mirror infections in the community.

“Most of the children (ages five to 11) who are testing positive (in Fraser Health)… are in the Fraser East region and this is the area of Fraser Health where we have the lowest rates of immunization,” Henry said, adding that similar patterns are seen in parts of Interior Health with low vaccination rates as well.

“It is important for us to continue to watch this… and pay attention to make sure we’re not seeing more severe illness.”

There have been two schools, in Abbotsford and Chilliwack, where schools have had to switch to remote learning due to COVID-19 outbreaks.

More to come.


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