2 Surrey high schools record second cases of COVID-19
SURREY, B.C. -- Several more schools in Metro Vancouver have notified parents of possible COVID-19 exposures, including two schools in Surrey that are now dealing with their second cases of the disease.
Parents at Tamanawis Secondary received their first notification about exposure over the weekend, and after sending their kids back to class this week, they were sent another email from the district Wednesday night advising them of a second case.
The second person was inside the school on Thursday and Friday last week.
Parents at Sullivan Heights Secondary are in a similar position. They were notified of a "low-risk" exposure on Sept. 15, but Wednesday night also received an email from the district advising them someone with the virus was inside the school on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday of last week.
A notification was also sent Wednesday night to parents at Surrey's Kennedy Trail Elementary, where someone was the virus was inside the school between Tuesday and Thursday last week.
The Coquitlam School District is also advising parents of its first case.
Someone who tested positive for the virus was at Riverside Secondary School in Port Coquitlam. Fraser Health's tracking website lists the first date of exposure from that case as Sept. 18.
Vancouver Coastal Health, which says it is only going to add public notifications to its site in certain cases, added a second school exposure to its online list on Wednesday, despite at least several other confirmed cases at schools in the region.
There was potential exposure at Xpey’ Elementary on Sept. 10, 14, 15, and 21st.
Despite assurances from provincial health officials that all COVID-19 cases would be posted online, VCH has taken a different approach — saying it only plans to post cases under certain circumstances, such as broad exposure within a school.
“Parents can be re-assured that we will notify them directly if their child has been exposed to COVID-19,” VCH Medical Heath Officer Dr. Patricia Daly told CTV News Wednesday.
“We think that’s the most appropriate way of balancing notification of those who need to know, with our public health priorities of protecting those who are infected.”
Daly says cases where people who may not have been infectious during their time inside a school — or those who had a small number of close contacts who can be directly notified — may not be posted to the VCH tracking website.
“We believe there’s no benefit or need to post those on our website. Those would not be good public health processes,” Daly added.
Jordan Tinney, superintendent of the Surrey School District, is taking a different approach.
He has been tweeting exposure notifications and even created a map Thursday indicating which schools in his district have had cases -- and that’s on top of possible exposures already being tracked on the Fraser Health website.
“People just want to know on a week-to-week basis. Just tell me what’s happening. At the very least, gee, if my school had a case linked to it — shouldn’t I be able to know? And our answer is yes,” Tinney told CTV News Thursday.
“We’re not trying to be alarmist. We’re trying to actually say to people this is part of living with COVID. It’s not going to go away for the next little while, so you need to know. If there’s a case linked to your school, you will be informed.”
As of Thursday morning, Fraser Health has 23 exposure listings on its exposures website.
View a list and interactive map of all schools with exposures confirmed by health authorities.