VICTORIA—British Columbia’s provincial well being officer says she doesn’t foresee a situation the place the whole public faculty system must shut down once more as a result of of COVID-19.
Dr. Bonnie Henry stated throughout a briefing Thursday that native outbreaks could require particular person faculties or studying teams to cease lessons and self-isolate, however a system-wide closure would solely occur beneath extreme circumstances.
“That would mean that we were in dire straits in many other aspects of our community and that’s what we’re trying absolutely to avoid,” Henry stated.
Henry made the feedback as British Columbia reached a record of daily COVID-19 cases on the identical day that faculties reopened throughout the province.
Officials introduced 139 new cases for a provincial whole of 6,830 for the reason that pandemic started.
There had been no new deaths and the whole quantity of fatalities stays at 213.
Henry stated she understands the primary day of faculty will be an anxious occasion, particularly this yr throughout a world pandemic, however she provides that British Columbia’s neighborhood transmission charge stays comparatively low.
She stated public well being groups are able to help faculties, which shall be alerted as quickly as there’s a potential publicity.
“Living with COVID-19 in our communities is the challenge we are going to face for the next months, maybe years, and we need to continue to find a balance,” Henry stated.
“This is our time to be steady in our actions and ready for what lies ahead.”
The stage of communication a couple of faculty case will differ primarily based on transmission and the protocol for alerts shall be posted on the B.C. Centre for Disease Control’s web site, she stated.
Health officers expect COVID-19 cases at faculties, however not all shall be thought-about outbreaks.
“We know that we’ll have cases that pop up and we’ve seen that in other provinces where schools have started,” Henry stated, including that’s why daily self-screening for signs is so necessary.
If there’s no transmission or publicity chance at the college, then it’s not thought-about an outbreak, she stated. Local well being officers will work with the college authorities to make sure households are conscious of a potential case, however it could not require anybody else to remain house.
If there’s a potential publicity at a faculty, it might imply half of a studying group should self-quarantine relying on the kind of publicity and quantity of folks concerned.
The public shall be alerted to any outbreaks in faculties, she stated.
As an instance of what would possibly immediate a full faculty closure, Henry described a situation the place so many adults are sick or self-isolating that there isn’t sufficient employees to soundly function it.
“We’ve seen that happen with influenza outbreaks, we’ve seen that happen in other parts of the world where schools reopened,” Henry stated.
“Those are the things we want to avoid.”
Hospitalizations for COVID-19 have additionally risen to 42, with 14 of these folks in intensive care.
Although the health-care system is properly geared up to deal with that quantity of cases, Henry warned that the rise in cases suggests extra susceptible adults have gotten contaminated.
Provincial figures have proven the bulk of British Columbians contaminated with COVID-19 are of their 20s and 30s.
“As more people become ill with this, even if they’re mostly younger, we are starting to see that spill over into long-term care homes where people work and have contact with older family members and others in our community,” she stated.
“That is the warning sign for us, they go together.”
Health Minister Adrian Dix gave a suggestion for social gatherings this fall, whether or not in eating places or at house events.
“Stick to six,” he stated, including the group needs to be even smaller for small flats.
“Remember to choose from the same six people, not multiple groups.”