COVID-19 exposures in B.C. schools now being posted online: Dr. Bonnie Henry | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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COVID-19 exposures in B.C. schools now being posted online: Dr. Bonnie Henry

Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry.
Image Credit: FACEBOOK/BC Government
September 28, 2021 - 2:08 PM

B.C. health authorities are going to start posting possible school exposures online.

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said that system will now be used, rather than just posting clusters and outbreaks as the plan had been earlier this school year. It will be similar to what was done in the last school year but there won’t be letters sent to individual parents.

There are now dramatic increases in the number of school aged children who are being infected by COVID-19 but that is related to the level of vaccination in their communities, she said.

“The case rates in school age children and younger children and older children were increasing prior to school starting in both in the Interior and Northern Health regions,” Dr. Henry said at a news briefing today, Sept. 28. “This reflects the vaccination rates in those communities and the fact that we were seeing transmission of the virus in those communities.”

She will not require that masks be worn by children as young as kindergarten age because there are other layers of protection against transmission in schools, she said.

READ MORE: Hard copies can't be used to prove vaccine status in B.C. starting today

At the other end of the spectrum, third doses will be given to seniors in long-term care homes starting in the next week or two, in conjunction with influenza shots.

That’s because those seniors were the first to get vaccinated and they were getting their second doses fairly soon after the first. Since then, it’s been shown that a longer period between doses gives longer lasting protection.

Any vaccine is less effective on the elderly than the general population, she said. That means, if COVID does get into a long-term care home, it can be lethal.

So far, it looks like third doses aren’t going to be needed for even the elderly living in the community.

“Right now, there is no need for most people in the community to receive a booster dose,” Dr. Henry said. “For the program we have in B.C., we are seeing good, strong protection for health care workers who were first immunized as well and for people over the age of 70 in the community.”

READ MORE: COVID impact on hotels in Kamloops, Okanagan far worse this year than 2020

The research on COVID is continually being monitored.

“This pandemic continues to evolve and so do we,” Dr. Henry said. “We need to make changes to fit the situation as it's arising. This virus has changed. We know it’s being transmitted more rapidly, particularly to those that don’t have the protection that vaccination offers.”

Because of that, new restrictions have been imposed in the Fraser Valley East Local Health Area, similar to those in the Central Okanagan and other parts of the Interior and North. That’s because of high case counts and low vaccination rates, similar to parts of the other two health regions.

Restrictions include things like no more than five people or one household being allowed to visit inside homes or 10 people outdoors.

The restricted area stretches from Hope to Abbotsford/Mission.

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