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COVID-19 exposures identified at 5 North Okanagan schools

Vernon and Cherryville students reportedly exposed, as B.C. identifies increased cases in kids

Several area schools have been exposed to COVID-19 recently.

Cherryville Elementary has reportedly had an exposure, along with St. James and W.L. Seaton schools.

The St. James exposure was on Sept. 21, 22, 23 ad 24, according to Interior Health, which started sharing school exposures again Sept. 28.

An exposure at W.L. Seaton Secondary Sept. 20 and 21 was reported by the health authority.

Prior to these, an exposure took place at Alexis Park Elementary Sept. 13, 14 and 15.

Exposures were also reported to families who may have been in contact at Harwood Elementary Sept. 9, 10, 13, 14, 15 and 16.

The date of the Cherryville exposure, reported by the independent BC School Covid Tracker, is unknown.

The fourth wave of the pandemic is affecting schools and senior in care, according to the latest numbers from the B.C. government.

READ MORE: B.C. COVID cases rising quickly in younger school-aged children

The increase in community infection from the Delta variant of the coronavirus is showing up in schools, particularly in age five to 11, the students who aren’t yet eligible for COVID-19 vaccines in Canada.

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said the research shows that areas with high community vaccination such as Vancouver Island also show lower infections in school-aged children, and lower immunization rates in the eastern Fraser Health region are also reflected in school-aged children. New restrictions on indoor and outdoor gatherings have been ordered, including Hope, Chilliwack, Abbotsford, Mission and Agassiz-Harrison.

Henry said the B.C. Centre for Disease Control is watching the school situation closely, but isn’t moving to extend the school mask mandate to include children from kindergarten to grade three. Daily symptom checks, restriction on mingling between grades and improving ventilation in schools is helping, and getting community immunization to higher levels is the most important step, she said.

- with files from Tom Fletcher

READ MORE: Unvacinated Armstrong grad students asked to stay home due to COVID school cluster


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Jennifer Smith

About the Author: Jennifer Smith

Vernon has always been my home, and I've been working at The Morning Star since 2004.
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