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Monday, October 18, 2021

B.C. health officials hold press conference with COVID-19 cases in schools on the agenda


B.C.’s provincial health officer, Dr. Bonnie Henry, and Health Minister Adrian Dix will hold their weekly COVID-19 press conference Tuesday afternoon.

Starting at 12:30 p.m., it will be broadcast live above, on BC1 and on the Global BC Facebook page.

It is expected that Henry will announce changes to the COVID-19 school exposure notification process.

The Ministry of Health said it has heard from parents and teachers that they want public health to provide access to information around school exposures quickly and public health teams are prioritizing contact tracing within the schools.

On Monday night, the Vancouver School Board became the first in the province to extend its mask mandate to apply to all students from kindergarten to Grade 12.

Right now the provincial guidelines for masking in schools apply to grades 4 to 12.

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Click to play video: 'VSB extends mask mandate'







VSB extends mask mandate


VSB extends mask mandate

Read more:
Vancouver School Board makes masks mandatory for K-12 students

Other parent advisory councils are also calling for the province to ramp up safety protocols in schools.

In a letter sent to the Education Ministry, PACs in Vancouver, Surrey, Burnaby, New Westminster and Sooke call for a stronger mask mandate to require students from kindergarten to Grade 3 to wear face coverings, increased contact tracing, a return to learning cohorts in elementary schools and improved ventilation in schools.

The letter comes as several COVID-19 cases have been reported at Capilano Elementary in North Vancouver.

Chilliwack’s Promontory Elementary moved to remote learning last Wednesday after at least 20 cases were detected in staff and students, and on Friday, Fraser Health declared an outbreak at Maple Ridge Christian School, where 32 cases cropped up.

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In each of the last three reporting days, more than 100 new cases have involved kids nine or younger.


Click to play video: 'Several B.C. PACs call for enhanced COVID-19 safety measures in schools'







Several B.C. PACs call for enhanced COVID-19 safety measures in schools


Several B.C. PACs call for enhanced COVID-19 safety measures in schools

Read more:
Several B.C. PACs call for enhanced COVID-19 safety measures in schools

The Ministry of Health has said local public health orders may be put in place for entire regions or communities, including schools. For schools, the local medical health officer may issue a recommendation for an individual school, a grouping of schools, a school district, all schools within the health authority region or some combination thereof, to implement specific additional health and safety measures during times of elevated risk.

Students will also continue to be required to complete daily health checks and stay home when feeling sick.

The ministry also cited studies by the Vancouver Coastal Health Authority and Fraser Health Authority that showed after a resumption of in-class learning, schools were not significant sources of COVID-19 transmission.

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On Monday, B.C. reported 2,239 new cases of COVID, with 876 on Saturday, 657 on Sunday and 706 on Monday.

There were also 18 COVID-19-related deaths over the three days for a total of 1,940 since the pandemic began.

There are 303 people in hospitals with 141 of those in intensive care.

This story will be updated following the press conference at 12:30 p.m.

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