Three new COVID cases, first exposure at northern school

Three new cases of COVID-19 were reported in the Northern Health region on Friday, and Northern Health is reporting a COVID-19 exposure at a school in Dawson Creek.

In a joint statement issued Friday afternoon, provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix said there were a total of 139 new cases in B.C. on Friday. I

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"We are also reporting 40 historic cases that were tested between Aug. 11 and Sept. 16 for people who did not have personal health numbers," Henry and Dix said in the statement. "All these cases have been previously investigated and managed by Vancouver Coastal Health, but had not been entered into the data system. This brings our total to 7,842 cases in British Columbia."

Northern Health issued a warning of a COVID-19 exposure at École Frank Ross Elementary in Dawson Creek between Sept. 10-11.

"School District No.59 has been made aware by Northern Health that a member of our school community at École Frank Ross has tested positive for COVID-19," a statement on the school district's website said. "The district is working with Northern Health and the Medical Health Officer and are following their guidance. Please be reassured that our schools will continue to implement the strict protocols and procedures we have in place so that children can continue to attend school as safely as possible."

Northern Health's alert about the school exposure said that public health officials would contact parents directly if their child was involved in the exposure. 

Parents of children at the school aren't required to take any action unless they are contacted and told otherwise public health or school officials.

"For schools, public health teams will contact individuals through contact tracing," Henry and Dix said. "Schools will continue to issue alerts when a school exposure has occurred and action is required."

There were 1,803 active cases of COVID-19 in B.C., and a further 3,075 people being monitored because of exposure to known cases.

The number of active cases in the north wasn't provided, but on Friday the B.C. Centre for Disease Control reported 36 active cases in Northern Health – including seven patients in hospital, four of whom were in intensive care.

"Currently, 59 individuals are hospitalized with COVID-19, 20 of whom are in intensive care," Henry and Dix said.  "There have been three new COVID-19 related deaths, for a total of 223 deaths in British Columbia. We offer our condolences to everyone who has lost their loved ones during the COVID-19 pandemic."

No further details were provided about the patients who had died. On Tuesday, Henry reported the first death linked to COVID-19 in the Northern Health region.

"We need to push the COVID-19 curve back down and we have the knowledge, the tools and resources to do just that," Henry and Dix said. "The cases we are seeing today are a direct result of how we spent our Labour Day long weekend. Let's break the chain of transmission and turn this trend around. No one intends to pass the virus onto friends or family, but it is very easy to do."

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