Mom of B.C. boy who caught COVID-19 says it took days for classmates' families to be notified
A Surrey, B.C., woman whose 10-year-old son contracted COVID-19 says it took days for his classmates' families to be notified by public health.
Tracey Thomas told CTV News her son William Richardson, who has severe asthma, came home from Hillcrest Elementary School last Tuesday showing signs of COVID-19.
She had him tested on Wednesday, and on Thursday the results came back positive.
“I got it around 1 p.m. and I immediately called the school and I notified them, what grade he was in, what class he was in, and I was just hoping that would be enough time, the two hours before the end of the day to send something out," Thomas said.
However, she said the school never sent anything out. Later that night, she was contacted by Fraser Health and told a contact tracer would reach out in a few hours, but days passed by with no contact from anyone.
Thomas decided to notify other parents in a school Facebook page.
“There’s so much secrecy around this and it’s scary because I’ve got a child who has underlying health conditions," she said.
On Sunday, Thomas took William to the emergency room after his conditions worsened.
'It's freaky," she said. "He turns grey, he coughs, he can't catch his breath, his oxygen levels are off. You can see it in his face."
Thomas said on Tuesday, contact tracers finally reached out. She called the apparent delay in notifying families whose children would have been in direct contact with her son unacceptable.
"Contact tracing needs to be way more efficient," Thomas said.
Earlier this month, provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said B.C. would no longer issue school-wide letters when someone tested positive for the disease. Instead, just those who were exposed to the disease would be notified directly.
However, on Tuesday, Henry announced they’ll be reversing course.
“We hear from parents across the province, I hear from educators, and our teams have recognized that parents do need an authoritative source (to) have an understanding of what is happening at their children's school," she said.
Henry said her team is still working to develop its new system, but said it will be "less intrusive and more sustainable." Officials hope to have that in place by the weekend.
With files from CTV News Vancouver's Alyse Kotyk