After BC reported that over 3,000 new COVID-19 cases had been confirmed in the province since Friday, Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry addressed the question of potentially shutting down schools again – similar to what Ontario has now done – to help curb the spread of the virus.
Asked during a press conference on Monday just how high case numbers would have to climb before she’d consider making a similar move, Henry didn’t answer the question directly, saying instead that health officials are having “ongoing daily conversations with the key leadership teams in our schools around the province.”
During these conversations, she furthered, options are looked at, and strategies and measures are reviewed.
“One of the things we know is that there are hotspots in the province where there’s been increased exposure events related to transmission in the community,” she said. “That’s why we prioritized school staff in the Surrey School District for example, and we are moving that out to other hotspot areas around the province.”
Henry maintained her position that it’s when kids are not in school that community transmission is more likely to be seen.
“The structured time and the important structure that school gives to families and communities is really important, and it’s a less risky environment,” she said. “We also heard loud and clear from families and educators that when we had the shutdown of schools last year, that it impacted negatively across the board, so we need to pay attention to that too.”
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Henry said on Monday there have been 3,289 new test-positive COVID-19 cases since Friday, bringing the total number of recorded cases in the province to 112,829.
There were 1,283 cases reported from Friday to Saturday, 1,036 from Saturday to Sunday, and 970 from Sunday to Monday.
Broken down by health region, this equates to 740 new cases of COVID-19 in the Vancouver Coastal Health region, 1,957 new cases in the Fraser Health region, 167 in the Island Health region, 299 in the Interior Health region, and 125 in the Northern Health region.
There were also 18 new COVID-19-related deaths, for a total of 1,513 deaths in British Columbia. Dr. Henry said that one of the deaths was historical.
There are 9,937 active cases of COVID-19 in the province, with 15,900 people under active public health monitoring as a result of identified exposure to known cases.
Of the active cases, 368 individuals are currently hospitalized with COVID-19, 121 of whom are in intensive care. The remaining people with COVID-19 are recovering at home in self-isolation.
A total of 101,216 people who tested positive for the virus have now recovered