Third B.C. school with COVID-19 outbreak: Surrey elementary closes for two weeks

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      A third school in British Columbia—and the second in the Lower Mainland—has been closed after a COVID-19 outbreak.

      Fraser Health declared an outbreak at Newton Elementary School, located at 13359 81st Avenue in Surrey, on November 27.

      As of the announcement, Fraser Health had confirmed 16 cases involved in the outbreak.

      Accordingly, Fraser Health asked the school district to close the elementary school for a two-week period. The school will reopen on December 14.

      Anyone at the school from November 16 to 27 is being asked to self-isolate for 14 days after the date of visit.

      Newton Elementary previously had exposure events from October 27 to 29; on November 1; on November 5 and 10; and on November 16 and 23.

      This is the third school in B.C. to be closed due to an outbreak.

      The province's first outbreak at a school occurred at École de l’Anse-au-sable in Kelowna in October.

      The second Cambridge Elementary School in Surrey, which closed as of November 14 after outbreak involving seven cases was declared.

      In addition, three other schools—all in the Lower Mainland—were closed due to clusters:

      • Jarvis Traditional Elementary School in Delta, after a cluster of six cases;
      • Al-Hidayah School in New Westminster, after a cluster of eight cases;
      • Abbotsford Christian School in Abbotsford, after an exposure involving six cases.

      In B.C., a cluster in a school is defined as two or more cases being present at school while an outbreak in a school is declared when widespread transmission is occurring between groups of classes or learning groups and the chains of transmission remain undetermined.

      These are different from exposure events, in which a case is present at a school. B.C. provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry explained at today’s B.C. COVID-19 update once again that exposures at schools rarely involve transmission, and are rarely from a child to others.

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