Port Coquitlam is seeing fewer COVID-19 exposures in schools compared to two weeks ago, suggesting a vaccination campaign targeting residents 30 years and older may be working.
The city — among 19 high transmission areas in Fraser Health — was given vaccine priority in April to tamp down the virus which had hit businesses, schools and stores.
Two weeks ago, 13 PoCo elementary, middle and high schools were listed on Fraser Health's school exposure website as having someone on their grounds who tested positive for COVID-19 over multiple dates.
This week, Fraser Health is reporting nine PoCo schools with a recent COVID-19 exposure — none reported for May thus far, but could quickly change as a result of ongoing testing and reporting.
Coquitlam, meanwhile, has seen a slight increase from eight to nine schools reporting COVID-19, including Dr. Charles Best Secondary, which reported exposures on its grounds for the past three weeks.
In the last 14 days, Best had exposures April 26 as well as between May 3 and 7.
Port Moody’s two high schools have also seen recent exposures, including Heritage Woods with an exposure date of April 30 and Port Moody Secondary with exposures dates April 26 and May 3.
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Coquitlam Mayor Richard Stewart, meanwhile, is calling on residents in his city to register and get vaccinated when their age — currently 43 or born after 1978 — is called for shots.
On social media, he said Premier John Horgan told him that B.C. is about to be "swimming in vaccine".
“I'd love to see Coquitlam have the highest rate of vaccination, Stewart stated.
“For the elderly population, vaccination is about protecting them from a deadly illness. But the younger you are, the more that vaccination is about helping all of us, about societal immunity, about protecting the most vulnerable from a virus that kills indiscriminately. Want to save the world? Get vaccinated.”
For now, it looks like people seeking shots will have to wait for the age-related campaign, which is providing Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna at two Coquitlam vaccination clinics.
That’s because the BC Pharmacy Association reports on its website that there are currently no appointment bookings available at pharmacies participating in the COVID-19 AstraZeneca vaccination program for people 30 years and older
People can go on a waiting list, but they are urged not to call or sign up for multiple wait lists.
“If you are on a waiting list at a pharmacy, you will be called if appointments become available or when a new supply is received,” the pharmacists’ website states.
Meanwhile, two clinics are offering shots to people who pre-register and are contacted to book appointments.
Last week, Tri-City News visited a drive-through vaccination clinic in Coquitlam and found an orderly dispensing of shots, a change from April 27 when a pop-up clinic was announced at the Poirier Forum and caused traffic jams, parking problems and huge lineups.
WHAT IS AN EXPOSURE?
A school “exposure” indicates a single person with a lab-confirmed COVID-19 infection attended school during their infectious period.
A school “cluster,” on the other hand, indicates possible school-based transmission with two or more lab-confirmed cases of COVID-19 attending school while infectious.
Finally, an “outbreak” at a school means “multiple individuals with lab-confirmed COVID-19 infection” and that “transmission is likely widespread.”
So far there hasn’t been an outbreak in School District 43 schools, a point made at a recent board of education meeting.
If an outbreak occurred, there would be a partial or full school closure, superintendent Patricia Gartland told trustees.
School exposures current to May 10.
• Riverside secondary: April 26, 29, 30
• Terry Fox secondary: April 26, 27, 28, 29
• Kwayhquitlum middle: April 26, 27, 28
• Maple Creek middle: April 27, 28, 29
• Citadel middle: April 26, 27
• Pitt River middle school: April 27, 28, 29
• École des Pionniers (francophone): April 26, 27
• Archbishop Carney Regional secondary (Indep): April 26, 27, 28, 29
• Irvine elementary: April 28
• Centennial secondary: April 29, 30
• Dr. Charles Best secondary: May 3,4, 5, 6, 7
• Gleneagle secondary: April 27, 27
• Scott Creek middle: April 28, 29
• Eagle Ridge elementary: April 26, 27, 28, 29
• Panorama Heights elementary: April 26
• Summit middle: April 26, 27
• Lord Baden Powell elementary: April 26, 27 and 28, 30
• Hillcrest middle school: April 30
• Heritage Woods secondary: April 30
• Port Moody secondary: April 26, May 3