B.C. Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry. (B.C. Government photo)

B.C. Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry. (B.C. Government photo)

Kelowna Francophone school COVID-19 outbreak climbs to 5, mixture of students and staff

Health officer says situation evolving, spoke to possible closure, changes to provincial guidelines

Three COVID-19 cases first identified at a Francophone school in Kelowna has increased to five, provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry announced today.

This is the first outbreak declared at a school in B.C.

“Steps were taken by public health with the school, to ensure they they can contain the spread to the involved cohorts,” said Henry in a live information session on Oct. 22.

As a result, 160 people from the École de L’Anse-au-sable community are self-isolating at home, and are working with the school to ensure ongoing educational needs are being met.

READ MORE: COVID-19 outbreak at Kelowna Francophone school

Henry said provincial health teams continue to work on site to get a ‘full picture’ of who may have been exposed to the virus.

According to Henry, the five confirmed cases are a mixture of students and staff. In total, 213 exposure events have been identified in over 2000 schools in the province, about two thirds of these being students, and one third teachers. Six clusters (more than one case) have been identified, the majority of which have been in the Fraser Health and Vancouver-Coastal Health region.

She said the first exposures at École de L’Anse-au-sable came to light over last weekend, and that provincial health teams are working to identify further potential exposures.

Henry said closing down a school like this due to an outbreak is a possibility, if their investigation continues to identify further exposures. However she added it’s ‘unlikely’ given what she knows about the outbreak and investigation so far.

“The medical health officer… in Kelowna is leading on this with the school, with the principal, making sure that we know and are doing the detailed investigation that we do for all of these outbreaks, and now they’re confident they’ve address people who have been exposed, but that (closure) is a possibility,” said Henry.

In a previous information session, Henry was asked what it would take to close a school in B.C. At the time she said it would take a large number of staff to test positive and self isolate, resulting in the school not being able to operate safely.

“That’s not the case right now in Kelowna, but obviously these things evolve over the days as the investigation (does),” she said.

Asked if this outbreak could bring with it changes to protocols or guidelines in other schools in B.C., Henry said they learn from every exposure, cluster, and outbreak.

“This is our first school outbreak and we will learn from it, and if there are things that come to light that will help reduce (the) potential for this happening in other schools, then absolutely we will be looking at how we can expand those measures to every school.”

She said they are working very closely with the school community, and that if you have not been contacted by public health to self isolate, “you can continue to monitor yourself and go to school as you normally would.”

There are currently 1,920 active COVID-19 cases in the province, 71 are hospitalized, and 21 are in critical care.

READ MORE: Interior Health reports 12 additional COVID-19 cases

READ MORE: B.C shatters single-day COVID-19 record with 274 new cases; most linked to gatherings

Do you have something to add to this story, or something else we should report on? Email: phil.mclachlan@kelownacapnews.com


 

@newspaperphil
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Coronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Lake City Basketball’s inaugural female scholarship winner Megan Freeman with Lake City Director Chris Terris (Contributed).
Lake City Basketball’s top student-athletes awarded scholarships

Megan Freeman from Keremeos, Penticton’s Richter Heintz, and Summerland’s Jacob Mullin recognized

Peyton Burton-Otteson and Gia Han along with OSNS Child and Youth Development Centre mascot Otis have some fun practicing for last year’s 40th annual Share a Smile Telethon at Cherry Lane Shopping Centre. (File photo)
OSNS smashes fundraising goal for 41st Share-a-Smile Telethon

The telethon and online auction raised a combined total of $81,000 to support local kids

Over 30 per cent of Canadian youth under the age of 18 cannot afford to play organized sport. (Wikimedia Commons)
Penticton families need help getting kids into the game

Ninth annual KidSport Give the Gift of Sport fundraising campaign could be the most crucial one yet

Wineries in the Central Okanagan this year saw a high quality harvest, but a low yield. Pictured is a winery in West Kelowna, in October. (Phil McLachlan - Black Press Media)
B.C. Master of Wine reflects on industry’s teetering economic state

Pandemic, for some wine makers, has been a blessing in disguise. For others, not so much.

Business district is pictured during a traffic jam in Jakarta, Indonesia, June 20, 2019. REUTERS/Willy Kurniawan
Morning Start: By 2050, 95 percent of North Jakarta could be submerged

Your morning start for Wednesday, Nov. 25, 2020

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s COVID-19 situation at the B.C. legislature, Nov. 23, 2020. (B.C. government)
B.C. daily COVID-19 cases hits record 941 on Tuesday

Further restrictions on indoor exercise take effect

An assault charge has been filed after a 10-year-old boy was allegedly struck with a watermelon at a Shuswap campsite in August . (File photo)
Alberta woman facing assault charge after allegedly hitting boy with watermelon at Shuswap campsite

Police say a disagreement among friends at an Adams Lake campsite turned ugly

A Shuswap couple reported having fallen victim to a family emergency telephone scam. (File image)
Shuswap couple fall victim to family emergency scam

Person claiming to be couple’s son said he was injured and in jail

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Krista Macinnis displays the homework assignment that her Grade 6 daughter received on Tuesday. (Submitted photo)
B.C. mom angry that students asked to list positive stories about residential schools

Daughter’s Grade 6 class asked to write down 5 positive stories or facts

B.C. projects targeting the restoration of sockeye salmon stocks in the Fraser and Columbia Watersheds will share in $10.9 million of federal funding to protect species at risk. (Kenny Regan photo)
13 projects protecting B.C. aquatic species at risk receive $11 million in federal funding

Salmon and marine mammals expected to benefit from ecosystem-based approach

The Vernon Aquatic Centre will be closed for its annual three-week maintenance period from Aug. 26 to Sept. 16. (City of Vernon - photo)
Chlorine leak closes North Okanagan pool

18 swimmers evacuated, pool opens shortly after

RCMP. (Phil McLachlan - Black Press Media)
Report of gunfire leads RCMP to men barricaded in North Shuswap home

Chase RCMP said investigation related to firearms offences is ongoing

A fentanyl test strip is used at Vancouver Coastal Health in Vancouver, Tuesday, January, 21, 2020. The test strips will be made available to drug users to ensure that their drugs are safe and free of Fentanyl. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Drug overdoses lead to 5 deaths each day in October; drug toxicity continues to increase

COVID-19 crisis continues to exacerbate the overdose crisis

Most Read