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Several Fraser Health region schools report potential COVID-19 variant exposures

Last Updated Mar 8, 2021 at 6:21 am PDT

FILE -- Specimens to be tested for COVID-19 are seen at a lab, in Surrey, B.C., on Thursday, March 26, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

Fraser Health is expanding its strategies to identify variants in the community

A number of schools in Surrey, one in Burnaby, latest to report potential COVID-19 variant exposures

Fraser Health says it's working to identify any further connected variant cases

SURREY (NEWS 1130) – Several high schools and elementary schools in the Fraser Health region are dealing with potential COVID-19 exposures that involve variants.

Marlborough Elementary in Burnaby and Chimney Hill Elementary in Surrey have had potential exposures, as have Fleetwood Park Secondary, Frank Hurt Secondary, Princess Margaret Secondary, and Tamanawis Secondary schools — also in Surrey.

According to the health authority, an “in-depth assessment” at each of the schools has found that “only those staff and students who have been identified as close contacts need to be tested and have been contacted.”

None of the schools will be closed at this time.

Variants of concern have been spreading throughout B.C. over the past several weeks. Public health authorities have raised concerns over how easily these strains have been transmitted.

Fraser Health strategies

Fraser Health says it’s working to identify any further connected variant cases in order to ensure those impacted are isolating.

While variants have been found to transmit more easily, Fraser Health notes that they “do not interfere with the effectiveness of vaccines, nor affect our ability to test for the virus.”

The health authority adds that it’s brought in “enhanced management strategies” in order to identify variant cases and help contact tracing procedures.

Among these strategies is an expanded testing recommendation to include all high-risk individuals who may have been in contact with someone who’s tested positive for COVID-19, even if they are not experiencing symptoms.

Fraser Health has also expanded use of its Point of Care testing for clusters as well as increased the frequency by which contact tracers check in with people to see how they’re feeling.