Provincial data modelling provided by B.C. health officials on Tuesday shows COVID cases continue to rise among school-aged children following the return of school.
The data shows as of mid-September, those five to eight years old and those nine to 11 lead the way for transmission of the virus.
As of this week, around 30 people out of 100,000 aged nine to 11 in B.C. are getting COVID and 22 out of 100,000 aged five to eight are getting the virus. The next highest group are 18 to 39-year-olds at a rate of 15 out of every 100,000.
The province did not provide similar data for those zero to four years old.
While cases are going up among children, the rate of hospitalization continues to remain low.
For example, five to eight years olds are being hospitalized at a rate of 2.5 per day, around the same rate as last April.
The province has also released details about tracking cases among children.
The regional health authorities will start posting K-12 school ‘potential exposure events’ on their websites on Tuesday.
Like last year, the school and dates of exposure will be posted if a person (staff or student) attended school while infectious, and there is an increased risk of COVID-19 to the groups in which they were a part.
Potential exposure events will be posted as identified on the health authority websites. People who are themselves at increased risk and need to take action will be notified directly.
The province noted there is often a delay in public health being notified of a positive lab test and the case investigation beginning so postings may lag behind individual parent postings.
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.
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.
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.
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.View link »