Why some school exposures aren't posted in this B.C. health region
VANCOUVER -- Despite B.C. health authorities' assurances that every COVID-19 school exposure would be posted online, Vancouver Coastal Health says they will not be following that policy.
"The decision to post notifications-- we will do that when there is a broader group of students who may have been exposed," Dr. Patricia Daly, Vancouver Coastal Health's chief medical officer, said Wednesday.
"We send out letters to those people so we will then, at the same time, post it to our website. So we’ve done that in one situation now."
But parents have been sent home letters about exposures at several other schools in the region, including Hastings Elementary School.
Vancouver Coastal Health serves nearly 25 per cent of B.C.'s population and includes Vancouver, Richmond, the North Shore, Sunshine Coast, Sea-to-Sky region, Powell River, Bella Bella, and Bella Coola.
"There may be cases that we hear about who might not have even been infectious during the time they were in the school setting or have only a small number of close contacts who are directly notified, and we believe there is no benefit or need to post those on our website. That would not be good public health processes," Daly said.
Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said Monday there is one province-wide approach to sharing school exposure notifications.
"I think there was some, perhaps, misunderstanding when we first were posting these up," she said. "But we expect Vancouver Coastal adhere to what everybody else is doing, as well as our provincial standard."
In contrast, Fraser Health has posted all of its 22 exposures online. An exposure is defined as a single person with a lab-confirmed case of COVID-19 who attended school during their infectious period, according to the health authority.
Provincial health officials had previously announced the B.C. Centre for Disease Control's website would link to regional health authorities' school notification pages. At the time, Fraser Health was the only one that had launched, though authorities said the others would be launching soon.
With files from CTV News Vancouver's Shannon Paterson