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COVID-19: 41 schools with exposures in Interior Health as reporting resumes

FILE. Back to school. The Interior health region had 41 exposures in one month. Global News

In the two days since it’s been given the go-ahead to publish COVID-19 school exposure data to its website, Interior Health added 41 locations to the list.

Of those, 12 schools are in the Central Okanagan, eight are in North Okanagan school districts and one is in the South Okanagan.

Most of the listed schools are facing multiple exposures, with most also being elementary schools.

Click to play video: 'B.C. COVID-19 school exposure notices return, but no mask mandate expansion'
B.C. COVID-19 school exposure notices return, but no mask mandate expansion

The day before the reporting system went back into effect, Interior Health offered assurances there had been no outbreaks declared in its coverage area, but there have been school cases in a number of communities.

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“It is important to stress that behind the scenes, nothing has changed. Interior Health continues to prioritize schools for contact tracing and closely monitoring the transmission of COVID-19 in Interior Health schools,” read the statement.

Read more: COVID-19 cases in Central Okanagan still trending upwards, Interior Health says

“We are informing all those who may have been exposed, and actively contact tracing any exposures in the school as a priority. “

The most important thing for students and families to remember, they added, is that students who have any symptoms of COVID-19 should stay home and get tested.

Testing among school-age children is at an all-time high, provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said at a Tuesday press conference.

Click to play video: 'BCTF president lists preventative measures teachers want to see in schools this year'
BCTF president lists preventative measures teachers want to see in schools this year

”We’ve gone up from about 100 children a day being tested across the age groups to over 500 children a day being tested for COVID-19,” Henry said.

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“That tells us that we’re seeing children, school-aged children, having an illness that leads them to be tested, and that the testing has gone up quite dramatically.”

Read more: Vaccinated and unvaccinated Canadians have very negative relationships, poll finds

She went on to say that test positivity has stayed lower or gone down in most age groups, including those aged 12 and up, but it’s now higher among children aged five to 11.

By geography, case rates in school-age children were increasing prior to school starting in Interior and Northern health, depending on vaccine rates in those communities.

“That translated to children in school settings, as well, testing positive for COVID-19,” Henry said. “If we look at areas where community vaccination rates are highest, the rates of school-age children stay low.”

Click to play video: 'Tracking COVID-19 cases in schools'
Tracking COVID-19 cases in schools

As of Wednesday, Sept. 28, 87.9 per cent of eligible people 12 and older in B.C. have received their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine and 80.8 per cent have received their second dose.

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In the Okanagan, BC Centre for Disease Control numbers are lower. As of Sept. 27, the Central Okanagan is reporting 85 per cent of its population age 12 and over having had a first dose, Penticton has 85 per cent of the population with one dose and Vernon Centre Coldstream 83 per cent.

Smaller communities tend to see lower rates.

Enderby, for example, still has only 69 per cent of its population over the age of 12 having had one vaccination for COVID-19.

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