COVID-19 in B.C.: Dr. Bonnie Henry says there's limited surveillance data on transmissions in school and daycares

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      For months, Dr. Bonnie Henry has been claiming that B.C. schools and daycares are safe.

      But in a May 10 briefing to reporters, the provincial health officer conceded that information isn't always available on COVID-19 transmissions in these settings.

      "In terms of the data we have, unfortunately, our surveillance data is limited in both those areas," Henry said. "So we will present and continue to present what we do have."

      In responding to a reporter's question, Henry also acknowledged that there's no information available on exactly who transmitted the virus to whom in every one of these centres. But, she added, there have been "deep dives" in the Vancouver Coastal and Fraser Health regions in some schools.

      In addition, Henry noted that there have been some "small outbreaks in transmissions in childcare centres".

      "Childcare workers and school staff have been prioritized for immunization," Henry emphasized. "And immunization has been very high in school staff across the province. Less so in people who work in childcare.

      "So I would really encourage people who work in the childcare centres around this province—who've been doing so much good work caring for children, especially for children of essential workers and others around the province—now's your time. You have access to vaccine across the province. Please, go and get vaccinated."

      Her comments came in the wake of the World Health Organization and U.S. Centers for Disease Control accepting that COVID-19 is spread through airborne transmission. For over a year, these two organizations and other public-health bodies had been insisting that the disease was spread through droplets, which fall to the ground.

      Until April 22, Vancouver Coastal Health was maintaining on its website that "there is no reported evidence of airborne transmission". That was deleted after CTV News reporter Penny Daflos started raising concerns.

      B.C.'s case counts lag behind Alberta's

      On May 10, the B.C. government reported COVID-19 case counts over three days:

      * 596 new cases from May 7 to 8;

      * 605 cases from May 8 to 9;

      * 558 cases from May 9 to 10.

      That added up to 1,759 new cases over three days. In contrast, Alberta, which has a smaller population, reported 1,597 cases on Monday (May 10) alone.

      More than two-thirds of the new B.C. cases over the past three days were in the Fraser health region.

      There were also 20 new COVID-19 deaths in B.C. over the past three days, raising the provincial total to 1,622.

      There are 415 people with the disease in B.C. hospitals, including 150 in intensive care.