Information from the Deputy Provincial Health Officer
BCPAC President Sinclair attended an education partners meeting with the Ministry of Education and Dr. Reka Gustafson on Jan 6 during which two reports were shared.
The first report was from the ECDC (COVID-19 in children and the role of school settings in transmission – first update). Key Messages in the report:
- There is a general consensus that the decision to close schools to control the COVID-19 pandemic should be used as a last resort. The negative physical, mental health and educational impact of proactive school closures on children, as well as the economic impact on society more broadly, would likely outweigh the benefits.
- In surveillance data, among childhood COVID-19 cases, children between 1-18 years of age have lower rates of hospitalisation, severe hospitalisation and death than do all other age groups.
- Children of all ages are susceptible to and can transmit SARS-CoV-2. Younger children appear to be less susceptible to infection, and when infected, less often lead to onward transmission than older children and adults.
- School closures can contribute to a reduction in SARS-CoV-2 transmission, but by themselves are insufficient to prevent community transmission of COVID-19 in the absence of other nonpharmaceutical interventions (NPIs) such as restrictions on mass gathering.
- Transmission of SARS-CoV-2 can occur within school settings and clusters have been reported in preschools, primary and secondary schools. Incidence of COVID-19 in school settings appear to be impacted by levels of community transmission. Where epidemiological investigation has occurred, transmission in schools has accounted for a minority of all COVID-19 cases in each country.
- Educational staff and adults within the school setting are generally not seen to be at a higher risk of infection than other occupations, although educational roles that put one in contact with older children and/or many adults may be associated with a higher risk.
The second report shared was from McMaster University in Ontario (Living Rapid Review Update 11). Key Messages in the report:
- Based on the published reports to date from both prior to COVID-19 lockdown and following re-opening, the risk of transmission from children to children and children to adults in primary school and daycare settings appears low, when infection control measures are in place. The certainty of the evidence is low (GRADE), and findings may change as new data become available.
- Within clusters and outbreaks, adult to adult transmission seems to be more common than child to adult or adult to child. Certainty of the evidence is very low (GRADE), and findings are very likely to change as new data become available.
- Implementation of infection control measures appear to be important to limiting spread as evidenced by several outbreaks where limited or no measures were in place. Across jurisdictions reviewed, there is wide variability in policies in place limiting the ability to evaluate the impact of specific infection prevention and control measures or make best practice recommendations for daycare or school settings due to variability in measures implemented.
MY COVID-19 TEST EXPERIENCE
Last Sunday (Nov. 8th), my daughter started feeling sick. Her symptoms were cough, runny nose, and sore throat. We first did the BC COVID-19 assessment test online, which led us to be recommended to have a COVID-19 test. So we called 811, the nurse health line, and they directed us to a hospital in Burnaby and to BC Children’s Hospital, which are both By Appointment COVID-19 Check Centres that offer the gargle test for kids under grade 12.
Because the Burnaby centre was online, I made an appointment there first and managed to get an appointment for 12:15 PM the next day. BC Children’s Hospital’s phone centre didn’t open until 7:00 AM, and it was Sunday night, and they were closed. I woke up early on Monday morning right away and called BC Children’s Hospital and was answered quickly and efficiently and was told to come in anytime after 8:00 AM. They have free parking, and there was only 3 people ahead of us when we arrived at 8:15 AM!
After we had our test, I went and cancelled my appointment in Burnaby online, which was quick and easy to do.
We received the test results of my daughter by 2:30 PM the same day, and they were negative!
Yesterday (Nov. 15th), a week later, my older kid fell sick with the same symptoms, and we called BC Children’s Hospital directly. When we got there at 8:15 AM this morning, we had one person ahead of us. And we are still waiting for results as I’m writing this story at 4:00 PM!!
We are self isolating and using Uber eats to order Starbucks to lift our spirits. We had a busy day planned while the kids were in school but had to reschedule everything because we have to all
self isolate until we get her results 😦
It feels good to know we are doing our part. It’s extremely inconvenient, but there is so much understanding from everyone and appreciation that we are honest and open about the fact that we are awaiting results and self isolating!
[Update] We got the test results at 8:30 PM. They were NEGATIVE!!!
BC COVID-19 School Update (Nov. 2020)
COVID-19 Daily Health Check Guide
- Chinese – Simplified
- Chinese – Traditional
Public Health Actions
if a Staff, Student or Other Person Who Has Been in the School is a Confirmed COVID-19 Case
TED-Ed Lessons about COVID （Cartoons）
For Kids: Why Do I Have to Wear a Face Mask?
This animated video helps young children understand how face masks can keep them and loved ones safe against the spread of COVID-19 and the proper way to put on and take off a mask. They also learn what else they can do while at school to help prevent the spread of germs.
CDC – How to wear masks and why we wear masks
How to wash your hands/choose hand soap