Contact tracing works well with zero outbreaks in B.C. schools, says provincial health worker

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British Columbia’s provincial health worker said the province had seen no outbreaks of COVID-19 in schools since classes resumed in September thanks to a robust system of contact tracers that quickly isolate people whose test is positive.”We know our system is working because we find cases, we find smaller transmission events,” said Dr Bonnie Henry, announcing 82 new cases of COVID-19 and one new death on Thursday.

Tracing contracts is “a highly skilled job that requires specific expertise, and our public health teams are really good at it,” she added.

Henry acknowledged that the province has occasionally stumbled when communicating COVID-19 exposures to schools. Not all regional health authorities reported online school exhibits during the first few weeks of classes.

“It’s important to recognize that we don’t always do things right, right away,” she said.

“We are working on these issues and continue to refine our approach. I am now convinced that our approach to communication is harmonized across all health authorities in the province. ”

The province performed a record 10,899 tests on Tuesday, which resulted in a positivity rate of less than 1% for the first time since July 29.

British Columbia’s average daily cases recently declined slightly, with the number of tests performed per day increasing quite rapidly, a positive sign after the province saw an increase in cases in the summer.

There are now 1,261 active cases of people infected with COVID-19 in British Columbia. Sixty-nine people are hospitalized, including 19 in intensive care.

The death toll in the province stands at 235. The latest death was in the Fraser Health area, Henry said.

Public health officials are actively monitoring 3,093 people who are in isolation due to exposure to COVID-19.

Reverse mask policy

On Thursday, the RCMP rescinded its mask-wearing policy that required frontline officers to wear properly fitting N95 respirator masks after being charged with discriminating against the rule, which saw members of the bearded gendarmerie – including Sikh and Muslim officers – reassigned to their office duties. .

When asked about the policy last week, Henry said N95-type respirator masks were not needed for most law enforcement agencies.

“I think there are very few instances where a police officer would need to wear a respirator,” she said.

“For the most part, they are not involved in resuscitating people and there are many other types of masks that can be safely used for other types of activities that the police are involved in. ”

In a statement, the RCMP said bearded officers can resume their operational duties with appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE).

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