COVID-19: B.C. health officials perform record number of tests, report 82 new cases, one death

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry also made a point of addressing concerns regarding school exposures

CP-Web. Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates how the provincial election will be held during the COVID-19 pandemic during a press conference at the B.C. legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Tuesday, September 22, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito ORG XMIT: CAH617

A record number 10,899 tests for COVID-19 were performed Sept. 30 as the province reported 82 new cases and one death at a long-term care centre.

Dr. Bonnie Henry said one case reported at Burnaby’s George Derby Centre is the second outbreak at the facility, and health officials are on site.

The provincial health officer made a point of addressing concerns regarding school exposures, particularly teachers or staff who may have tested positive for COVID-19, but who were not in a school and present no risk to students. Social media is rife with reports and observations from parents who question the protocols for possible transmissions at schools.

“If you have been in a school setting with somebody who may have been a close contact, you may be at risk of exposure — anyone who is at risk has been contacted,” she said.

Henry said that contact tracing is working, but if someone has been exposed there’s nothing health officials can do to prevent them from getting sick.

“We are doing our best and adjusting as we learn and I think it’s important to recognize that we don’t always get it right,” she said.

“From the beginning it has been clear: public health teams have been there and done contract tracing and responses for any exposure. Sometimes there are teachers or students who have been identified were not in the school.”

Henry said that an outbreak is defined as when there is ongoing transmission and health officials are not clear who has transmitted the virus.

“We have not had any outbreaks in our schools yet,” she said. “There’s an assessment done, people are isolated, they may not necessarily need to be tested. W don’t test asymptomatic exposure unless there is a reason.”

Henry said that the backlog of asymptomatic testing with LifeLabs is a concern, and she said health officials have questioned the reliance on one private processor.

“They have had some challenges in keeping up with our need. I know they — and our lab system — are working on how to do that better.”

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