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Port Coquitlam high school flagged for COVID-19 for 4th time

Riverside secondary was the first school in the district to report a COVID-19 exposure
Riverside secondary in Port Coquitlam
Riverside secondary in Port Coquitlam

CORRECTION: Due to a database error, an earlier version of this story indicated Riverside secondary had been flagged four times for a COVID-19 exposure. It has, in fact, been flagged twice across four dates.

A Port Coquitlam high school has been flagged COVID-19 exposures over three days.

This is not the first time exposures have been identified at Riverside secondary; the school was the first to report a COVID-19 exposure in School District 43 occurring on Sept. 18. 

The latest round of exposures indicate at least one person with the virus attended the school Nov. 16, 17 and 18, according to a Nov. 26 Fraser Health early notification letter seen by the Tri-City News. The health authority has not yet updated its exposure portal with the Port Coquitlam exposures.

The letter indicates health teams have initiated contact tracing to “rapidly identify any staff and students that need to self-isolate or self-monitor for symptoms.”

A school “exposure” usually indicates a single person with a lab-confirmed COVID-19 infection attended school during their infectious period. But Fraser Health has indicated to the Tri-City News that an exposure can also indicate more than one positive though unlinked case. 

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, and an “outbreak” indicates “multiple individuals with lab-confirmed COVID-19 infection” and that “transmission is likely widespread.”

There are currently four School District 43 schools under active investigation for COVID-19 exposures, s well as the Coquitlam private Catholic school Our Lady of Fatima.

While School District 43 has been hit with dozens of exposures since reopening in September, to date, Fraser Health has not reported any cases of transmission at a Tri-City school. 

Other neighbouring districts, have not been so fortunate. On Friday, Fraser Health indicated it was shuttering Newton elementary school in Surrey after 16 cases of COVID-19 were isolated in recent days. 

The school will remain shut for two weeks “to break any chains of COVID-19 transmission that may be present at the school,” wrote the health authority in a press release.

Fraser Health school exposures:

Map by Gary McKenna/Tri-City News