Concerns that some would return to Coquitlam area schools with COVID-19 after winter break has materialized with five schools now flagged with exposures dating back to the first week of 2021.
Meadowbrook elementary was the first school reported by Fraser Health to have a coronavirus exposure on Jan. 4 and 5. It was followed up by Cedar Drive elementary, which was flagged with an exposure on Jan. 4, the first day back at school.
Now more schools are being added to the list of exposures.
Fraser Health reports that Rochester elementary school, located at 411 Schoolhouse Street in Coquitlam, had a COVID-19 exposure on Jan. 5 and 6, and Mundy Road elementary school, at 2200 Austin Avenue, has been reported for a coronavirus school exposure on Jan. 4.
In a post to its Facebook page, School District 43 also confirmed letters have gone out to the school community of Como Lake middle school after a COVID-19 exposure was reported there.
The school, located at 1121 King Albert Avenue in Coquitlam, is not yet listed on the Fraser Health school exposure portal; however, according to an early notification letter posted to bcschoolcovidtracker.knack.com — a group which seeks “ transparency of data on schools affected by COVID in British Columbia” — an exposure occurred Jan. 8.
The exposures come as new COVID-19 infections in B.C. continue to hold steady, although overall case numbers are dropping.
Monday, Dr. Bonnie Henry reported 1,475 cases over the weekend; roughly half of those (736) were reported in the Fraser Health region, which includes Coquitlam, Port Coquitlam, Port Moody, Anmore and Belcarra.
Monday also marked a grim milestone: with 22 new deaths over the weekend, B.C.’s death toll due to the virus passed the 1,000 mark for the first since the pandemic began.
There are also 50 active outbreaks at health care facilities, including at The Madison long-term care home in Coquitlam and Nicola Lodge in Port Coquitlam.
Province-wide restrictions continue to clamp down on events and social gatherings and will be in place until Feb. 5 at midnight.
Despite the extension of public health orders to stem the transmission of COVID-19, Coquitlam teachers, remain concerned. In a letter last week directed to Fraser Health, teachers called for stricter measures to make schools safer.