Sign outside of B.C. classroom amid ongoing pandemic. (The Canadian Press)

COVID testing up for youth but B.C.’s top doctor says in-classroom transmission low

No youth or children have died due to the virus, and hospitalizations are less than one per cent.

There have been 50 coronavirus school exposures in B.C.’s 1,942 schools since early September, with many of those infections being contracted prior to school starting, according to provincial health data.

On Monday (Oct. 5), provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry shared the latest epidemiological data for the province amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. This marks the first month to include school-related transmission rates since the coronavirus hit the province back in January.

According to Henry, testing rates have increased two-to-four-fold for youth aged 13-18 and 5-12, respectively. That includes about six in every 10 tests using the new, less invasive spit and gargle test which was rolled out last month.

The results: most students experiencing symptoms similar to those connected to COVID-19 – which when mild can appear similar to common colds – don’t actually have the coronavirus. Roughly seven of every 1,000 tests come back positive. Provincially, youth make up less than 10 per cent of all confirmed COVID cases.

No youth or children have died due to the virus, and hospitalizations are less than one per cent.

“What we are not seeing is schools amplifying transmission immunity,” Henry explained, adding that officials will be “monitoring closely” now that the first two-week incubation period has passed, meaning that new infections would be more directly linked to inside classrooms.

There have been growing concerns among parents and the union representing B.C. teachers over a gap in information on school-related exposures.

As it stands, each health authority is responsible for working with school districts to notify parents and guardians of exposures through contact tracing, as well as post lists of exposure events on the BC CDC website.

Henry reassured parents Monday, stating that a previous “communication glitch” which led some regions not posting exposures has since been solved.

“… the public health teams on the ground are working with every school and every school community. Every parent who needs to know has that information and what we post publicly is every single exposure event.”

However, those details fall short of some particulars, such as the number of test-positive cases as a result of the exposure – sparking growing concerns being voiced by the BC Teachers’ Federation president Teri Mooring.

More than half of B.C. teachers believe COVID-19 health and safety measures in schools are “inadequate,” according to a recent poll.

READ MORE: A day before school starts, B.C. teachers’ union still worried over lack of remote learning

@ashwadhwani
ashley.wadhwani@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism? Make a donation here.

Coronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Matthew Campbell, director of the Fraser Valley Regional Food Bank, stands amongst a large amount of non-perishable food and household items being stored inside the Pacific Community Church. This year’s ‘Halloween For Hunger’ food drive, put on by students at Clayton Heights, will go to benefit the Fraser Valley Regional Food Bank. (Photo: Malin Jordan)
Clayton Heights Secondary kicks off annual ‘Halloween for Hunger’ event

Students to collect much-needed items for food bank

Left, Rowena Leivo early on in her volunteer career with the South Surrey/White Rock Food Bank. Right, Leivo in the food bank Tuesday. (Contributed photos)
After 34 years, ‘The Boss’ retires from South Surrey Food Bank volunteer gig

Rowena Leivo, 90, spent a third of her life volunteering at the food bank

Ali Watson in Arts Club Theatre Company’s production of “No Child…,” which plays until Nov. 8. (photo: Moonrider Productions)
Viewers of Arts Club’s streaming plays support Surrey Civic Theatres

Company’s ‘bubble method’ of theatre production means just 50 in-person tickets for each performance

John Horgan brought the NDP campaign to Langley on Wednesday, Oct. 21, just three days before the B.C. vote (Matthew Claxton/Langley Advance Times)
Horgan brings NDP campaign to Langley

Predicts gains, says people are looking at the party ‘differently’ after three years

Surrey provincial court. (File photo: Tom Zytaruk)
OUR VIEW: Lenient courts aren’t helping

It’s hard to fault the palpable frustration of Metro Vancouver Transit Police

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry presents modelling of COVID-19 spread in B.C., March 25, 2020. (B.C. government photo)
B.C. sets another COVID-19 record with 203 new cases

up to 1,766 active cases in B.C., two more deaths

RCMP. (Phil McLachlan - Black Press Media)
British Columbia man dies during ski trip near glacier west of Calgary

Kananaskis Public Safety and Alpine Helicopters responded around 2:30 p.m.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau arrives on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Monday, Oct. 19, 2020, following a week-long break for the House of Commons. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
One crisis after another for Trudeau since last federal election one year ago

It has been a year of unprecedented calamity and crisis

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Rio Tinto Alcan’s aluminum smelter at Kitimat competes against producers in the Middle East and Russia that have no carbon tax. (Rio Tinto)
B.C. carbon tax highest in Canada, export industries unprotected

B.C. NDP, B.C. Liberals say they’re looking at exemptions

In this file photo, snow is seen falling along the Coquihalla Highway. (Liam Harrap/Revelstoke Review)
Weather statement issued for Coquihalla, Hwy 3, as arctic front approaches

The early season snowfall expected to hit Fraser Valley, Friday, Oct. 23

(Pixabay)
Vancouver teacher suspended after swearing, touching students and complimenting underwear

McCabe touched students, including rubbing their backs and necks, touching their hair and hugging them

Most Read