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

City staff will report residents’ feedback to council before the shelter’s permit is decided at a special meeting Tues., Nov. 3. Photo: Laurie Tritschler
Grand Forks’ city council seeking feedback on proposed winter shelter

Boundary Family Services hopes to have the proposed facility running starting Dec. 1

Brandon Kootnekoff stands at the “Zombie Bay” he lit up at his home near Sion Cemetery Wed., Oct. 21. Photo: Laurie Tritschler
Grand Forks haunt enthusiast re-vamps Halloween display for pandemic

Brandon Kootnekoff said he wanted neighbours ‘to have something to look forward to this year’

test tube with the blood test is on the table next to the documents. Positive test for coronavirus covid-19. The concept of fighting a dangerous Chinese disease.
Interior Health records third COVID-19 death

A new community outbreak was reported at Okanagan Men’s Centre in Lake Country

NAV CANDA is considering closing its station at the West Kootenay Regional Airport. Photo: Betsy Kline
Nav Canada considering closing station at West Kootenay Regional Airport

The organization is conducting a service review at Castlegar’s airport

Grand Forks' Everett Baker filed his nomination at city hall Tuesday, Oct. 27. Facebook: Everett Baker
Baker files nomination ahead of Grand Forks byelection

The downtown business owner stands unopposed in bid to fill vacant council seat

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates the COVID-19 situation, B.C. legislature, Oct. 26, 2020. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 case count jumps by 287, another senior home outbreak

Two more deaths recorded, community outbreak in Okanagan

An untitled Emily Carr painting of Finlayson Point was donated to the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria by brothers Ian and Andrew Burchett. The painting had been in their family for several decades. (Courtesy of the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria)
Never before seen painting by famed B.C. artist Emily Carr gifted to Victoria gallery

Painting among several donated to Art Gallery of Greater Victoria

The B.C. Centre for Disease control is telling people to keep an eye out for the poisonous death cap mushroom, which thrives in fall weather conditions. (Paul Kroeger/BCCDC)
Highly poisonous death cap mushroom discovered in Comox

This marks first discovery on Vancouver Island outside Greater Victoria area

100 Mile Conservation officer Joel Kline gingerly holds an injured but very much alive bald eagle after extracting him from a motorist’s minivan. (Photo submitted)
Rescued bald eagle that came to life in B.C. man’s car had lead poisoning

Bird is on medication and recovering in rehab centre

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

Janet Austin, lieutenant governor of B.C., was presented with the first poppy of the Royal Canadian Legion’s 2020 Poppy Campaign on Wednesday. (Kendra Crighton/News Staff)
PHOTOS: B.C. Lieutenant Governor receives first poppy to kick off 2020 campaign

Janet Austin ‘honour and a privileged’ to receive the poppy

Premier-elect John Horgan and cabinet ministers are sworn in for the first time at Government House in Victoria, July 18, 2017. (Arnold Lim/Black Press)
Pandemic payments have to wait for B.C. vote count, swearing-in

Small businesses advised to apply even if they don’t qualify

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

A raccoon paid a visit to a Toronto Tim Hortons on Oct. 22, 2020. (shecallsmedrew/Twitter)
Who are you calling a trash panda? Raccoon takes a shift at Toronto Tim Hortons

Tim Hortons said animal control was called as soon they saw the surprise visitor

Most Read