After seven Metro Vancouver schools confirmed with COVID-19 variants, Fraser Health makes immediate changes

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      Public health authorities are taking immediate action to address numerous COVID-19 variant cases detected in Metro Vancouver schools.

      Fraser Health stated on February 21 that COVID-19 variant cases have been confirmed at the following seven schools:

      • Woodward Hill Elementary School;
      • AHP Matthew Elementary School;
      • Tamanawis Secondary School;
      • James Ardiel Elementary School;
      • Surrey Traditional Elementary School;
      • Gobind Sarvar School;
      • Hellings Elementary School.

      All of the schools are located in Surrey, except for Hellings Elementary, which is in Delta.

      Fraser Health did not specify which variants have been detected.

      Health investigations of all cases are underway and Fraser Health stated that most cases appear to be linked to community transmissions.

      In response to these cases, Fraser Health announced today (February 22) that it has expanded testing commendations to include all high-risk contacts of individuals who test positive for COVID-19, whether or not they have symptoms.

      Also, use of point-of-care testing (or rapid testing) for specific clusters or outbreaks have been expanded.

      Fraser Health contract tracers will ask additional question to anyone who tests positive (regarding their exposures, their close contacts, and ability to self-isolate) and will check in on those who test positive with greater frequency.

      Screening for variants are being streamlined to expedite the identification and notification of positive cases.  

      Both Fraser Health and deputy provincial health officer Dr. Réka Gustafson, with B.C. Education Minister Jennifer Whiteside, will be holding news conferences today to discuss the situation. 

      You can follow Craig Takeuchi on Twitter at @cinecraig or on Facebook.