Some Central Okanagan parents worried about COVID-19 exposure notification delays in schools | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Some Central Okanagan parents worried about COVID-19 exposure notification delays in schools

Image Credit: ADOBE STOCK
December 15, 2020 - 11:30 AM

Parents at several Central Okanagan schools are concerned about the amount of time taken for them to be notified about possible COVID-19 exposures.

At one West Kelowna school, a parent said a recent exposure was known four days before the Interior Health notice arrived in email inboxes. Before that, a warning of exposure was given at the same school 12 days into a monitoring period. At another school across the city, parents were asked to monitor their children for symptoms until Dec. 16, due to a Dec. 2 exposure. The letter arrived on Dec. 11.

While there may be some concerns among parents, Interior Health indicated it's not currently facing delays in the contact tracing process.

"Here’s an example of a typical and best-case timeline for contact tracing: Day 0 – symptom onset; Day 1 or 2 – client calls and makes (an) appointment for COVID test; Day 3 or 4 – test date; Day 5 – test result; Day 5 + contact tracing," reads an email sent in response to the query about notification timelines.

"Case is contacted and is asked for a list and contact information for close contacts; Close contact exposure histories are reviewed with the Medical Health Officer."

Then, once contact information is received and a plan is approved by the MHO, the contact tracers can start reaching out to the contacts deemed to have been exposed.

"This is why it’s important that all people should remain vigilant in following COVID-19 precautions and current public health orders: keep to your household bubble and avoid social gatherings, limit all non-essential travel, stay home when you are sick and get tested if you have any COVID-19 symptoms, practise physical distancing, wear a mask in indoor public spaces, and wash your hands often," the email said, in closing.

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry has maintained throughout the pandemic that the number of transmissions in schools is low and with safety protocols in place, schools remain a safe place to be.

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