When it comes to keeping BC schools open and operating safely amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, Provincial Health Officer Dr. Henry said “a number of measures” are looked at when deciding what actions to take.
Henry’s comments come as high COVID-19 case counts continue in the province – specifically in the Fraser Health region.
On Thursday, she was asked what the positivity rate in that particular region would have to hit in order for her to consider implementing further restrictions around schools, or even potentially ordering school closures altogether.
Factors in the approach, she said, include “whether outbreaks are happening, and whether there’s transmission happening in schools, the rates of positivity, and how they’re connected [and] rates of acute cases over a specific time period to help us understand risk in a community.”
Henry said health officials also “look at how many are unlinked cases.”
Ultimately, though, “there’s no hard and fast number, but I can say when we look at the data from schools, which we do every day, we have exposure events that reflect what we’re seeing in our community,”she said.
However, “we are not having a lot of transmission events in schools,” she added.
And right now, “we’re not at a place where we need to consider things like closing schools, but we are at a place where we need to focus our attention in the community to make sure that we’re doing everything we can to keep those priority places open – like our schools. That’s the action we need to take now.”
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Henry’s comments come the same day BC health officials recorded 234 new cases of coronavirus in the province, for an overall total of 14,109.
By specific health region, Henry said this equates to 4,588 known cases in Vancouver Coastal Health, 8,036 in Fraser Health, 256 on Vancouver Island, 734 in Interior Health, 406 in Northern Health, and 89 from those who reside outside the province.
There are currently 2,344 active cases in British Columbia. Out of these active cases, 86 people are in hospital, and 24 of these are in intensive care.
As well, 5,714 people are currently under “active monitoring” for symptoms as a result of their exposure to known cases.
There has also been one additional death.
A total of 11,448 cases are now considered fully recovered in the province.