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VCH makes COVID-19 school exposures public after parental outcry

Dr. Bonnie Henry announced Monday, school exposures in the Vancouver Coastal Health region will now be made public
A teenager wears a mask to prevent the spread of COVID-19 while at school. Photo: Getty Images

Parents of school-aged children in Vancouver have let out a sigh of collective relief after B.C.’s top doctor, Bonnie Henry, announced COVID-19 school exposures in Vancouver Coastal Health (VCH) are being made public Monday.

This comes after Deputy chief medical health officer for Vancouver Coastal Health, Dr. Mark Lysyshyn, recently said something to the opposite effect:

“Vancouver Coastal Health will only list schools in situations where it’s not possible to notify those who may have been close contacts of the person with COVID-19," he told reporters.

A collective upset was the response of many parents, who felt helpless to know whether if by sending their child back to school that day they are unknowingly exposing them to the coronavirus.

Parents in Vancouver have scrambled to find out whether their child is at risk of being exposed since the reopening of B.C. schools this month.

In West Vancouver, a Facebook group dedicated to the cause was created.

Another Facebook group saw a single mother take on the task of reporting suspected COVID-19 cases in all B.C. schools.

Henry aimed to put parental worries to rest at the province's public COVID-19 briefing Monday:

“We can be confident that they are posted up there so that everybody knows,” referring to the VCH’s new public school exposures list.

"We know who needs to be isolated and who doesn't," Henry said, encouraging parents not to keep their children home if an exposure event has occurred there.

The doctor confirmed that close contacts of confirmed cases will be notified directly.

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