A few COVID-19 cases with B.C.'s return to in-class learning won't be surprising to health officials - InfoNews

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A few COVID-19 cases with B.C.'s return to in-class learning won't be surprising to health officials

May 30, 2020 - 2:24 PM

If one or two cases of COVID-19 appear in B.C. as a result of in-class learning starting back up,  B.C.'s provincial health officer won't be surprised.

"That’s OK. We know how to deal with this and we know we can prevent it," Dr. Bonnie Henry said today, May 30.

Referring to Quebec, and the 40-plus cases of COVID-19 related to its schools re-opening, Dr. Henry said most of those transmissions had to do with an adult bringing the disease into the school and that should be addressed with B.C.'s school restart plans. 

Ultimately, however,  she understands there's some anxiety around the idea though back-to-school should be viewed as a positive step forward.   

"This is very exciting and I know for some people, they're thinking about this with trepidation, and that is fine," Dr. Henry said. "We are ready for this. And we are reopening schools because we believe it is safe to do so."

A lot has been learned about COVID-19 since the pandemic got underway, and that includes an understanding of where the greatest risks are and what measures can be taken to protect from infection.

With one incubation period under B.C.'s belt, and new cases only rising incrementally, Dr. Henry said there's evidence that these measures are working and will be applied to what happens in schools come Monday.

"My team, and the team in public health has been actively working with many people in our education system, and we have confidence that (the measures) we put in place in schools across this province are the appropriate ones and the ones that will keep us all safe," she said.

Additionally, she said, COVID-19 has a very low infection rate in children, and children mostly have milder symptoms.

"We also know that transmission in children, usually happens in the household contacts where you have a lot of contact from an adult to a child," she said.

B.C. has only had 77 people under the age of 19, who have tested positive for COVID-19, which is less than one per cent of all cases. That is despite thousands of children having been tested.

Dr. Henry added that the date of schools restart was purposely set for two weeks after the economic restart so if there were a spike in cases, they could have pulled the plug or delayed reopening.

"I am comfortable with what we've been watching that we are in a place that we can do this now," she said.

"It is important for us to start is voluntary in-class instructions now to support those children and families who needed. And there are many of those around this province."

To contact a reporter for this story, email Kathy Michaels or call 250-718-0428 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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