Fraser Health reports COVID-19 variant exposures at 2 schools
Tamanawis Secondary School in Surrey, B.C., is pictured on Monday, Feb. 22, 2021.
VANCOUVER -- Fraser Health has announced another two exposures to coronavirus variants of concern at schools in its jurisdiction.
One school in Surrey and another in Burnaby have had recent exposures to variants, the health authority said in a news release Sunday night.
"Following an in-depth assessment at each location, only those staff and students who have been identified as close contacts need to be tested and have been contacted," Fraser Health said in its release. "The schools will remain open."
Fraser Health did not specify which variant of concern was found at the schools.
The Surrey school is Princess Margaret Secondary, and the Burnaby school with a recent exposure to a variant is Marlborough Elementary.
Both have had exposures to variants of concern previously.
In an email to CTV News Vancouver, Fraser Health confirmed that all of the exposures announced Sunday night are new incidents and are separate from previous exposures at the schools in question.
The health authority said it is working to identify any additional variant cases and ensure that the infected individuals self-isolate immediately.
"The variant strains can transmit more quickly and easily but do not interfere with the effectiveness of vaccines, nor affect our ability to test for the virus," Fraser Health said.
The health authority said it has also "implemented enhanced management strategies for case finding and contact management."
Those strategies include testing high-risk contacts of people who test positive for COVID-19, even if the contacts are not experiencing any symptoms, expanding the use of rapid tests in specific clusters and outbreak settings, and checking in more frequently during contact tracing.
"It is critically important for people living in the Fraser Health region to get tested as soon as you have COVID-19-like symptoms, even mild ones," the health authority said. "Please don’t wait, and book or drop by one of our collection centres."
More information on test collection centres can be found on Fraser Health's website.
An earlier version of this article included exposures to COVID-19 variants of concern at Chimney Hill Elementary, Fleetwood Park Secondary, Frank Hurt Secondary and Tamanawis Secondary. Fraser Health has since said that these schools were included "in error." The exposures were only at Princess Margaret Secondary and Marlborough Elementary.