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Fraser Health now reporting COVID-19 exposures at schools; others to follow

VICTORIA — Families with school-age children in British Columbia will soon be able to go to the B.C. Centre for Disease Control website for information about COVID-19 outbreaks and exposure events at schools.

VICTORIA — Families with school-age children in British Columbia will soon be able to go to the B.C. Centre for Disease Control website for information about COVID-19 outbreaks and exposure events at schools.

A joint statement from provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix says the site already links to notifications from Fraser Health and other health authorities will follow.

Dr. Elizabeth Brodkin, Fraser Health's interim chief medical health officer, says the new page that reports COVID-19 exposures in schools is part of an effort to correct inaccurate details on social media.

"We found that by being transparent and up-front and proactive with this information, it really helps to reduce the anxiety that can happen when a school becomes aware that there's an infectious case that has been present in their environment," she told a news conference.

The web page will display all 11 school districts in the health authority's region.

B.C. reported 122 new cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday, for a total of 7,498 since the start of the pandemic, with no new deaths.

There are 1,614 active cases of the illness in the province and 60 people are in hospital.

Dix and Henry say large gatherings have been a steady source of transmission, although they've seen recent cases stemming from smaller gatherings as people see different groups of friends on different days.

Fraser Health has declared an outbreak at Delta Hospital after two patients tested positive for COVID-19. It says the hospital's emergency department remains open and there has been no impact on any of its other departments.

Meanwhile, BC Hydro confirmed a case of COVID-19 in an employee who was working at the Site C dam project near Fort St. John last week.

The utility says the employee did not leave the work camp or have any interaction with the local community and there was a low risk of transmission at the site given the person wore a mask and practised physical distancing, among other health protocols.

It says the employee learned upon returning home to the Lower Mainland that they had been exposed to someone who later tested positive for the illness prior to arriving at the work site.

BC Hydro says public health officials have advised a small number of people to monitor themselves for symptoms following contact tracing.

It's the second confirmed case of COVID-19 at Site C so far after a worker from Alberta tested positive in July.

"BC Hydro has been closely monitoring the situation with COVID-19 since January. Extensive measures to protect the health and safety of workers on the Site C project have been implemented to reduce the potential for transmission at camp," the utility said in a statement Wednesday.

This report was first published by The Canadian Press on Sept. 16, 2020. 

The Canadian Press