Sign outside of B.C. classroom amid ongoing pandemic. (The Canadian Press)

COVID testing up for youth but B.C.’s top doctor says in-classroom transmission low

No youth or children have died due to the virus, and hospitalizations are less than one per cent.

There have been 50 coronavirus school exposures in B.C.’s 1,942 schools since early September, with many of those infections being contracted prior to school starting, according to provincial health data.

On Monday (Oct. 5), provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry shared the latest epidemiological data for the province amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. This marks the first month to include school-related transmission rates since the coronavirus hit the province back in January.

According to Henry, testing rates have increased two-to-four-fold for youth aged 13-18 and 5-12, respectively. That includes about six in every 10 tests using the new, less invasive spit and gargle test which was rolled out last month.

The results: most students experiencing symptoms similar to those connected to COVID-19 – which when mild can appear similar to common colds – don’t actually have the coronavirus. Roughly seven of every 1,000 tests come back positive. Provincially, youth make up less than 10 per cent of all confirmed COVID cases.

No youth or children have died due to the virus, and hospitalizations are less than one per cent.

“What we are not seeing is schools amplifying transmission immunity,” Henry explained, adding that officials will be “monitoring closely” now that the first two-week incubation period has passed, meaning that new infections would be more directly linked to inside classrooms.

There have been growing concerns among parents and the union representing B.C. teachers over a gap in information on school-related exposures.

As it stands, each health authority is responsible for working with school districts to notify parents and guardians of exposures through contact tracing, as well as post lists of exposure events on the BC CDC website.

Henry reassured parents Monday, stating that a previous “communication glitch” which led some regions not posting exposures has since been solved.

“… the public health teams on the ground are working with every school and every school community. Every parent who needs to know has that information and what we post publicly is every single exposure event.”

However, those details fall short of some particulars, such as the number of test-positive cases as a result of the exposure – sparking growing concerns being voiced by the BC Teachers’ Federation president Teri Mooring.

More than half of B.C. teachers believe COVID-19 health and safety measures in schools are “inadequate,” according to a recent poll.

READ MORE: A day before school starts, B.C. teachers’ union still worried over lack of remote learning

@ashwadhwani
ashley.wadhwani@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism? Make a donation here.

Coronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Emily Harris (centre) started the in-person Monarch Moms meet-up groups in July, when it was much easier to physical distance in outdoor spaces. Harris started the group as a source of connection for women navigating the ups and downs of having a baby during a pandemic. (Nina Grossman/News Staff)
Victoria new mom group navigates challenges of motherhood in a pandemic

Monarch Moms meet once a week for physically-distanced connection

Royal Bay students are among the list of SD62 schools that will be trained by Pacific FC coaches and staff in a new soccer academy partnership. (Aaron Guillen/News Staff)
Pacific FC partners with Sooke School District soccer academies

Royal Bay, EMCS and Dunsmuir Middle students to receive professional training

Police closed McNeill Avenue after a workplace death Oct. 20, 2020. (Nina Grossman/News Staff)
Tree-pruning community gathers in Oak Bay after tragic death

Crews met in solidarity at site of Tuesday incident

Some 30 people including a dozen youth participated in North Saanich’s first ever Fridays for Future protest outside of municipal hall on Mills Road Friday, according to organizers. (Anne-Marie Daniel/Submitted)
Fridays for Future plans second event for North Saanich after inaugural protest

Some 30 people attended first protest on Oct. 9 with a second one scheduled for Oct. 23

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry presents modelling of COVID-19 spread in B.C., March 25, 2020. (B.C. government photo)
B.C. sets another COVID-19 record with 203 new cases

up to 1,766 active cases in B.C., two more deaths

Advance polls are open from Oct. 15 to 21 with election day on Oct. 24. (Black Press Media file photo)
RCMP. (Phil McLachlan - Black Press Media)
British Columbia man dies during ski trip near glacier west of Calgary

Kananaskis Public Safety and Alpine Helicopters responded around 2:30 p.m.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau arrives on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Monday, Oct. 19, 2020, following a week-long break for the House of Commons. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
One crisis after another for Trudeau since last federal election one year ago

It has been a year of unprecedented calamity and crisis

Members of the Sipekne’katik First Nation load lobster traps on the wharf in Saulnierville, N.S., after launching its own self-regulated fishery on Thursday, Sept. 17, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan
Vancouver Island First Nations back Nova Scotia’s Indigenous lobster fishermen

Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council calls for action before lives are lost

Skiers line up to start the Royal LePage Comox Valley Snow to Surf Adventure Relay Race. Photo by Tim Penney
Popular Comox Valley adventure race cancelled for 2021

COVID forces Comox Valley Royal LePage Snow to Surf Adventure Relay Race cancellation again

Reader’s Lens
Richard Ashton took this picturesque scene from Whiffin Spit looking toward the Salty Towers dock and East Sooke. To submit a photo to Reader’s Lens, please email editor@sookenewsmirror.com. (Contributed photo)
Reader’s Lens

Reader’s Lens Richard Ashton took this picturesque scene from Whiffin Spit looking… Continue reading

Most Read