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COVID-19 case involving teacher at independent school in Fraser Health

Citynews 1130 Vancouver

Last Updated Jun 18, 2020 at 8:03 pm PDT

Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said no children have been involved in case involving an adult connected to an independent school in the Fraser Health Region. (Courtesy B.C. Government)
Summary

The adult was involved in several roles at the school, including teaching

Outbreak at Nature’s Touch, a fruit processing plant in Abbotsford, has been declared over

No new deaths were reported for the sixth straight day

VICTORIA (NEWS 1130) — An adult who teaches at an independent school in the Fraser Health region is one of eight new COVID-19 cases in B.C. on Thursday.

Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said no children have been involved, close contacts have been notified, and the school has been closed for the rest of the school year.

“The school has stopped their in-class learning for the balance of the year, given that we still have spread of COVID-19 in our communities,” Henry said. “This is not surprising and it is something that we were preparing for monitoring, as children, teachers, and educators went back to in-class schooling at the beginning of the month.”

Henry added the adult was involved in several roles at the school, including teaching, and that close contacts are now in isolation.

“There were no contacts that were of concern with children in the setting,” she said, adding the risk of the virus being transmitted between children is low.

“But we also know that adults can effectively transmit to each other, even with mild symptoms,” Henry said.

“This is not unexpected and it doesn’t change our assessment of the risk. The risk is still very low.”

She still expects the school year to resume in the fall.

Henry reported no new outbreaks Thursday, but said the one at Nature’s Touch, a fruit processing plant in Abbotsford, has been declared over.

Seven outbreaks remain active at health-care facilities, and Henry confirmed those at Mission Hospital, Tabor Home in Abbotsford, and Maple Hill in Langley are linked.

She added the outbreaks demonstrate how quickly the virus can spread.

Regarding family visits to care homes, Henry said extra staff and training are required first.

“When we think about the average long-term care home in British Columbia, we’re talking about 200 to 300 people,” she said. “So that’s an additional 200 to 300 people that we will be letting into these very fragile environments and very concerning environments. So we need to do it in a way that’s measured, that safe, that, actually, people need to be trained on how to appropriately use personal protective equipment, they need to have an ability so that they’re not putting other people in that care home at risk.”

Henry also commented on the new contact tracing app announced by the federal government earlier in the day.

“So it is a notification app. It’s not something that actually helps us a whole lot with contact tracing. We know that the important part of contact tracing is having that conversation with a public health person who knows the right questions to ask and can tell you what you need to know,” she said.

RELATED: Coronavirus contact tracing app won’t be a quick fix, expert warns

However, Henry said it could be useful when people are in crowds, around others with the app.

Regarding the closure of Peace Arch Provincial Park, announced the same day, Henry acknowledged concerns about a spike in visitors since it reopened in mid-May, including some people who were pitching tents there.

“So it was not closed because of COVID-19,” she said. “It was closed because of concerns around numbers of people and issues in the community.

The ban on gatherings of 50 people or more remains in place in B.C.

No new deaths were reported in the province for the sixth straight day. The total remains 168.

Total cases number 2,783, with a recovery rate of 87 per cent.

B.C. has 190 active cases, with 10 people in hospital, including five in intensive care.

Health Minister Adrian Dix said the province has returned to pre-COVID-19 surgery levels, with about 6,000 a week.