A COVID-19 outbreak and clusters forced the two-week closures of three Metro Vancouver schools over the weekend — with more than 850 people in self isolation.
An outbreak at Cambridge Elementary in Surrey (including a music teacher hospitalized in serious but stable condition) was declared on Saturday, with seven cases. Clusters were reported at Jarvis Elementary in Delta (with six) and Al-Hidayah School in New Westminster (with eight.) An outbreak is a cluster that is out of control.
Jarvis Elementary and Al-Hidayah School were closed due to “staffing challenges,” Fraser Health reported.
The first school outbreak in B.C. was reported in mid October at École de l’Anse-au-sable school in Kelowna.
As of last Thursday, provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry reported 261 exposures or clusters in schools across B.C. (not including those reported this weekend.) B.C. School COVID Tracker on Facebook claims 595 school exposures.
Henry said there have been less than a dozen incidences of transmission within B.C. schools
“Despite the fact that we’ve had 261 exposures where there’s people, whether it’s a student or a staff member or an educator in the school setting that there have been less than a dozen incidences where there’s been transmission within the school setting,” Henry said at her twice-weekly media briefing.
“Schools are proving to be a reflection, as we know, of what’s happening in the community but, all in all, a safe place for kids.
“Most school-aged children with symptoms, again, continue not to have COVID-19, which is good news. We know there’s been a lot of coughs and runny noses and a lot of children testing. The testing rates have increased two and a half times since August. Now about two-thirds of the tests are done by the spit-and-gargle test, which is great. It’s a lot easier on young people. We’re now up to about 70, about 1.7 per cent of children test positive. The vast majority still are not sharing COVID.”
Surrey Schools superintendent Jordan Tinney said that around 850 people would receive notifications to self isolate due to the Cambridge Elementary outbreak — the second school outbreak in B.C.
Thank you Cambridge Elementary staff for our meeting today and to @CUPE728 @SurreyTeachers for your support. Letters of 2-week self-isolation are being prepared for the approx. 850 staff and students. #sd36learn #SurreyBC @CityofSurrey First task – communicate with families.
— Jordan Tinney (@jordantinney) November 15, 2020
B.C.’s case numbers broke records all last week, peaking at 617 when last reported on Friday — when there were 50 people in intensive care and 5,579 active cases.
Also on Sunday, Fraser Health declared health care facility outbreaks at PICS Assisted Living Facility in Surrey, George Derby Centre in Burnaby and Kiwanis Care Centre in New Westminster. An outbreak is declared in a health care facility when there is more than one case.
The outbreak at the White Rock Seniors Village has grown to 39, including 16 staff. Fraser Health accounts for 35 per cent of cases in B.C., and about 35 per cent of the population. Vancouver Coastal Health accounts for almost 30 per cent of cases.