Despite widespread concern about transmission of COVID-19 in schools, Dr. Bonnie Henry said the data so far suggests schools are a “very safe” place to be during the pandemic.
The provincial health officer presented modelling Wednesday showing that while there have been hundreds of cases where staff and students were potentially exposed to the novel coronavirus, only a small fraction of those have actually led to transmission.
“The data shows us that we are not seeing schools being a place where transmission spreads widely,” Henry said.
“When the safety protocols that are in place in schools are followed, it is a very safe environment and transmission is very unlikely.”
She said that school-aged children currently represent about 12 per cent of B.C.’s COVID-19 caseload, and that figure has remained relatively constant since the beginning of the pandemic. To date, four outbreaks have been declared in B.C. schools, but fewer than seven in 1,000 school-aged children have tested positive for the virus.
Between Nov. 1 and Dec. 18, there were 526 exposure events in B.C. schools, the vast majority of which were in the Vancouver Coastal and Fraser health regions. About three-quarters of COVID-19 cases in schools have been in students, while the rest were in staff.
In the Vancouver Coastal Health region, about 600 school-aged children and school staff have tested positive for the virus, resulting in fewer than 200 exposure events in schools.
“In almost 90 per cent of cases, they acquired their infection outside of the schools, primarily from household contacts,” Henry said.
Only 10 per cent of the exposure events led to transmission within the school environment, generally to about one or two people, she added.
“Most transmission events involve staff members to each other. As we know, adults are more likely to transmit this to each other,” Henry said.
In the Fraser Health region, 384 schools have had exposure events, but only about 13 per cent of those schools have seen potential transmission of COVID-19.
‘We know it is challenging’
Henry said that she knows there’s been a lot of anxiety about kids returning to the classroom, but she believes it’s important for their long-term growth and development to have in-person interactions with their teachers and other students.
In November when cases were spiking across the province and health authorities were having trouble keeping up with the number of exposure events in schools, Henry assembled a task force of superintendents, teachers, parents and health professionals to look at whether B.C.’s back-to-school plan was working as it should.
“We know it is challenging. We know that kids don’t always want to wear their masks even when they’re in the hallways. We know that the cohort system in some places works better than others,” Henry said.
“All of this is being looked at and we’re looking at all the best advice we can to support schools and the school community when we reopen again in January.”
2 deaths, 180 COVID-19 cases announced in Manitoba Saturday – Global News
Manitoba public health officials confirm two additional deaths in people with COVID-19 have been reported.
The deaths are a man in his 70s from Southern Health-Santé Sud and a man in his 80s from the Winnipeg health region.
The current five-day COVID-19 test positivity rate is 10.2 per cent provincially and 7 per cent in Winnipeg.
As of 9:30 a.m. Saturday, 180 new cases of the virus have been identified and the total number of lab-confirmed cases in Manitoba has risen to 27,322.
The new cases are in the following regions:
- 10 cases in the Interlake-Eastern health region
- 69 cases in the Northern health region
- eight cases in the Prairie Mountain Health region
- 10 cases in the Southern Health-Santé Sud health region
- 83 cases in the Winnipeg health region.
The data also shows there are 2,986 active cases and 23,575 individuals who have recovered from COVID-19.
There are 122 people in hospital with active COVID-19 as well as 161 people in hospital with COVID-19 who are no longer infectious but continue to require care, for a total of 283 hospitalizations.
COVID-19 cases rising in the north
There are 19 people being treated for COVID-19 in intensive care units, as well as 17 people with COVID-19 who are no longer infectious but continue to require critical care, for a total of 36 ICU patients.
The total number of deaths due to COVID-19 is 761. Due to a data error, one death that had been reported earlier has been removed.
Laboratory testing numbers show 2,043 tests were completed Friday, bringing the total number of lab tests completed since early February 2020 to 450,104.
An outbreak has been declared at Lynn Lake Hospital in northwestern Manitoba. The site has been moved to Critical (red) on the Pandemic Response System.
The outbreak at Seven Oaks General Hospital, 4U4-7 in Winnipeg is now declared over.
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Local epidemiologist Cynthia Carr says while it has been challenging to follow health restrictions, it has made a difference.
“These restrictions and the work we have done together really does matter on the serious of levels. working together we have saved almost 2,000 lives. It might have been 1,700, 1,800 or 1,600 but the reality is it mattered,” she said.
And while our numbers remain steady for now, there are still obstacles in certain regions — particularly the North.
Carr says if the pandemic hasn’t ripped the issue of housing wide open in other areas, she doesn’t know what will.
“This is an ongoing challenge. When I go to a community and do community health assessments and I talk to leadership about health, they won’t say we need a fancy hospital, X-ray machines, etc., one of the first things will be the foundation of housing.”
She says infrastructure is absolutely related to health, and it hasn’t been attended to in our northern communities.
–With files from Anya Nazeravich
© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.
One of Canada's oldest seniors, at 110 years old, gets COVID-19 vaccine at Surrey care home – Cowichan Valley Citizen
JaHyung Lee, a resident at a Newton care home, received his COVID-19 vaccine at the age of 110.
Amenida Seniors Community said in a news release that residents at the facility received the first dose of their vaccines on Thursday (Jan. 14). JaHyung Lee is one of Canada’s oldest seniors to be inoculated.
The second dose of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine will be administered “in the coming weeks.”
“We are extremely lucky that we have received enough supplies to vaccinate all of our residents in care,” said Rosa Park, general manager at Amenida.
“As many of our seniors are elderly and require complex care, we can feel safer knowing that the virus won’t be spreading within our community.”
A reporter with the Now-Leader attended Lee’s 109th birthday in 2019. He was born on Aug. 27, 1910.
Meantime, Fraser Health says it has completed 151 vaccine clinics for long-term care and assisted living in the health region.
Latest COVID update Jan. 16: Sask. administers record-high vaccines – CKOM News Talk Sports
Saskatchewan administered its highest one-day total of COVID-19 vaccinations Friday.
The encouraging news comes as the province also reported two more COVID-related deaths and 270 new cases in its daily update Saturday.
The 2,857 vaccine doses were delivered in the following areas: Saskatoon (893), Prince Albert (857), northeast (426), southeast (285), Regina (267) and the far northwest (129). The far north-central region also administered 53 vaccines on Thursday. Friday’s information wasn’t available in the provincial update. There have now been 16,927 vaccines delivered across Saskatchewan.
An update on incoming vaccines from manufacturer Pfizer was also provided in the media release.
“Due to work to expand its European manufacturing facility, production of the Pfizer vaccine will be impacted for a few weeks,” the release stated.
“Pfizer is temporarily reducing deliveries, potentially by half, to all countries receiving vaccine manufactured at this facility.”
The province reaffirmed that vaccines will continue to be administered according to its priority sequence.
A shipment of 4,900 vaccines arrive from manufacturer Moderna on Friday. Distribution is happening in the central and southeast zones. Poor conditions on Friday delayed the shipment arriving in the far northeast zone until Saturday. Clinics are expected to begin Saturday and continue on Sunday.
Daily COVID-19 cases
The province is reporting a total of 19,985 COVID-19 cases.
Both people who tested positive for COVID-19 and died were from the Regina area. One was reported in the 60-69 age group and one was in the 80-plus age category.
The new cases are located in the Saskatoon (68), northwest (49), Regina (47), southeast (26), north-central (23) far northeast (15), northeast (13), far northwest (10), south-central (six), central-east (five) and far north-central (one) zones. Seven new cases are still pending residence information.
There were an additional 12 cases previously without a location assigned to the north-central (six), far northeast (two), far northwest (one), northwest (one), Saskatoon (one) and southwest (one) zones.
A total of 15,730 people have recovered and 4,043 cases are considered active.
The seven-day average of daily new cases is 311 (25.7 new cases per 100,000 population).
There are 199 people in hospital.
Of the 164 receiving inpatient care: 55 are in Saskatoon, 34 are in Regina, 30 are in the north-central region, 10 are in the northeast, 10 are in the southeast, 10 are in the northwest, seven are in the central-east, three are in the far northwest and one person is hospitalized in each of the far north-central, far northeast, central-west, southwest and south-central zones.
Thirty-five people are in intensive care. Patients are located in Saskatoon (17), Regina (nine), north-central (five), northwest (two), central-east (one) and south-central (one).
There were 3,071 COVID-19 tests processed Friday.
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