Children are safer from COVID-19 when they’re at school: Dr. Bonnie Henry | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Children are safer from COVID-19 when they’re at school: Dr. Bonnie Henry

Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry.
Image Credit: FACEBOOK/BC Government
April 15, 2021 - 2:09 PM

Studies of COVID-19 cases associated with schools in the Lower Mainland show that children are safer when school is in, says provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry.

Dr. Henry showed the results of two studies conducted in that area during a news briefing today, April 14.

"COVID-19 cases in schools reflects what’s going on in the community around them," she said. "Most of the cases in the school setting were acquired outside the school and there was little transmission within the school itself."

One study was done in the Vancouver Coastal health region last fall where there were 699 cases out of 124,000 staff and students with 77 per cent of those being students. That was less than one per cent of the total cases in the health region and a much lower rate of infections in schools than in the general community. 

Only 55 cases seem to have been transmitted within the schools themselves, meaning most got the disease at home or in the community.

When transmission occurs within the school, it is usually limited to one or two additional cases, Dr. Henry's briefing notes said.

The other study was done this year up to spring break in the Fraser Health region. It showed similar results but 80 per cent of the cases were students.

Case rates increase when school was not in session over the winter and spring breaks, Dr. Henry said.

She noted the studies show people are more protected from COVID019 in structured, controlled settings as opposed to when they are out in the community.

"It does not, as well, appear to be a major driver of community transmission," Dr. Henry said. "I know there’s a lot of talk about we need to close schools to stop transmission in the community but we’re not seeing that as an issue. We recognize how important school is for families, for communities and for children."

The top line in this graph shows the rate of infection from COVID-19 in the Vancouver Coastal health region while the bottom line shows the rate of infection in schools in that region.
The top line in this graph shows the rate of infection from COVID-19 in the Vancouver Coastal health region while the bottom line shows the rate of infection in schools in that region.
Image Credit: Submitted/B.C. Centre for Disease Control

— This story was updated at 3:43 p.m. Thursday, April 15, 2021 to add more information from Dr. Bonnie Henry.


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