Metro Vancouver health authorities continue to identify potential COVID-19 exposures at local schools.
In Coquitlam, Summit Middle School is the latest SD43 school to be hit with a COVID-19 exposure notice, raising the total number of district schools under active investigation to six.
The middle school, located at 1450 Parkway Boulevard, has been flagged for coronavirus exposures on Nov. 16 and 17.
This is the second time Fraser Health has issued an exposure notification at Summit; the school was previously listed on the health authority’s COVID-19 portal for exposures on Oct. 13 and 14.
According to the health authority, a school “exposure” usually indicates that a single person with a lab-confirmed COVID-19 infection attended school during their infectious period.
A school “cluster,” on the other hand, indicates possible school-based transmission with two or more lab-confirmed cases of COVID-19 attending school while infectious, and an “outbreak” indicates “multiple individuals with lab-confirmed COVID-19 infection” and that “transmission is likely widespread.”
Vancouver Coastal Health identifies recent COVID-19 exposures at Richmond schools
Meanwhile, two more Richmond schools have been flagged for COVID-19 exposures by Vancouver Coastal Health.
The health authority has added Garden City elementary and Matthew McNair secondary to its school exposures webpage.
The potential exposure dates at those schools are:
- Garden City: Nov. 16
- McNair: Nov. 12 and Nov. 16
Fraser Health school exposures:
Map by Gary McKenna/Tri-City News
Some local parents have recently expressed their frustration in delayed notification of school exposures. After hearing parents’ concerns, one of Fraser Health’s medical health officers told the Tri-Cities News the health authority is striving to improve lag time.
“We are closing the gap certainly in public health in trying to get those early notification letters out sooner,” said Fraser Health medical health officer Dr. Ariella Zbar, who works with a hub dealing with COVID-19 exposures in schools.
But Zbar also said that her team is sending out letters as soon as testing results come back positive, and it’s generally delays in testing that inevitably lead to delays in relaying the message to parents.
“The earlier people get tested the earlier those notices can go out,” Zbar said.
The latest exposures come only days after provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry escalated and extended sweeping COVID-19 restrictions across the province until Dec. 7 at midnight.
Among heightened restrictions, Henry has also created a team to manage school outbreaks in the Lower Mainland. When pressed on the possibility of mandating an early start to the school holiday break, Henry said her office is still considering the option.
— With files from Diane Strandberg/Tri-City News and Kirsten Clarke / Richmond News