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More people isolating after coronavirus outbreak declared at Kelowna school

Click to play video 'More people ordered to isolate after an outbreak was declared at Kelowna school' More people ordered to isolate after an outbreak was declared at Kelowna school
A Kelowna school will remain closed until at least Nov. 4, possibly longer, after an outbreak of COVID-19 was declared at the facility last week. And tonight Interior Health has confirmed that more people are isolating as a result of the outbreak at the Francaphone school. And as Klaudia Van Emmerik reports, almost a dozen people have also been ordered to isolate after possibly being exposed to the virus at another school, also in Kelowna – Oct 26, 2020

Interior Health Authority (IHA) confirmed late Monday afternoon that the number of people isolating due to a COVID-19 outbreak at a Kelowna school has risen.

Last week, IHA announced that about 160 people, both staff and students, at the École de l’Anse-au-sable were ordered to self-isolate but that number is now 175.

Read more: Coronavirus: Dates of COVID-19 outbreak at Okanagan school expanded, 11 cases now confirmed

There have been 11 positive cases linked to the first outbreak declared at a school in B.C.

On Sunday, school administration made a decision to temporarily close the school.

“Tthere are a lot of people that have to sit home so we can’t run the school,” said Michel St-Amant, superintendent for distruct 93, which covers Francophone schools in B.C.

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“There are people infected, there are people that are close to people infected, there are people that are waiting for a test, there’s people in isolation.”

Read more: More Metro Vancouver schools report COVID-19 exposures

Low staffing levels made it challenging to continue running the school.

St-Amanat said that in addition to all the people isolating, many students, who weren’t ordered to do so, were choosing not to come to school to play it safe resulting in far fewer students in classes.

And securing bus transportation under the current circumstances also proved challenging.

“I have some drivers who are quite concerned about their health,” St-Amanat said.

Click to play video 'Coronavirus: B.C.’s top doctor calls record COVID-19 case numbers over 3-day period ‘sobering’' Coronavirus: B.C.’s top doctor calls record COVID-19 case numbers over 3-day period ‘sobering’
Coronavirus: B.C.’s top doctor calls record COVID-19 case numbers over 3-day period ‘sobering’ – Oct 26, 2020

Dr. Bonnie Henry, provincial health officer addressed the school closure at her Monday afternoon briefing.

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“We knew of course this would be a possibility, especially in some of the smaller schools where the potential exposure impacts a larger proportion of the school population,” Henry said.

“And while the numbers of people with COVID is small, the requirement for those in contact to be in self isolation has meant that school can no longer safely operate.”

The plan is for the school to re-open on Nov. 5 but that will be assessed closer to that day.

IHA also announced on Sunday one positive case of COVID-19 at Kelowna Secondary School (KSS).

As a result, 11 people are isolating.

Exposure dates according to IHA are oct. 19, 20 and 21.