BC removes multiple symptoms from coronavirus checklist for kids

Sep 22 2020, 12:19 am

Parents conducting daily health checks on their kids before sending them to school now have a shorter list to work with, as BC health officials have removed a number of symptoms from the coronavirus symptom checklist for students.

In total, 10 symptoms were removed, including:

  • Sore throat
  • Runny/stuffy nose
  • Headache
  • Fatigue
  • Loss of appetite
  • Muscle aches
  • Conjunctivitis (pink eye)
  • Dizziness, confusion
  • Abdominal pain
  • Skin rash or discolouration of fingers and toes

Asked about the removal these symptoms from the checklist and the reasons behind it, BC’s Provincial Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said the decision was made because “what we have learned from the data… is that those symptoms by themselves, than that in and of itself is not a reason for a child – and we’re talking about children here – to necessarily stay home from school.”

Rather, “there’s some things – fever, cough – that are much more likely to be associated with something that may be transmissible to others,” she said, during a press conference on Monday.

However, “other symptoms, by themselves, are not necessarily associated with that, so that’s where we have a bit of leeway, and we’ve modified that,” she said.

“We know that children often have very mild symptoms that clear up very quickly, and are not indicative of COVID-19,” she furthered. “It’s a balancing act to make sure that children are able to attend school as much as possible and minimizing the risk that they pose.”

Still, Henry said, the decision of whether or not to send a child to school ultimately rests with the parents. “You can still keep a child home for 24 hours and see how things go.”

Asked about possible confusion over this messaging after months of imploring people to monitor any and all symptoms closely, Henry said that as health officials have learned more about this virus, “we need to find that balance to make sure we are providing children with those opportunities that they need to be in the school setting.”

She noted that with the fall season approaching, “there are many things that cause children to have one symptom that have nothing to do with COVID-19, so it was learning from that and trying to balance the evidence that we’ve had from other places where this has become an issue.”

At the end of the day, “we put in a bit of a measure that allows parents to make a judgement call around some of the minor symptoms that we know that by themselves are not usually associated with COVID-19.

With 10 of the symptoms removed, parents are reminded that they should still check their children daily for:

  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Cough or worsening of chronic cough
  • Shortness of breath
  • Loss of sense of smell or taste
  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea and vomiting

Henry’s comments come the same day that BC announced  366 new test-positive coronavirus cases since Friday, bringing the total number of recorded cases in the province to 8,208.

Eric ZimmerEric Zimmer

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