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FNHA announces COVID-19 exposure at Seabird Island Dental Clinic

Quick response has ‘virtually eliminated any risk to community or staff,’ officials say
This is the letter released by Seabird Island authorities from the local First Nations Health Authority. Due to Seabird Island Dental Clinic’s staff’s quick response, there is minimal risk to the staff or community. (Contributed/Seabird Island)

The Fraser-Salish region of the First Nations Health Authority (FNHA) announced the Seabird Island Dental Clinic was notified of a COVID-19 exposure.

“We know that people who are infected may not always have symptoms, so even when observing all precautions, exposure can occur,” states an October 15 letter from the FNHA. “Unfortunately, over the Thanksgiving weekend, the Seabird Island Dental Clinic was notified of an exposure.”

The FNHA said the dental clinic’s immediate response to the exposure has “virtually eliminated any risk to community or staff.” The health authority went on to say although due to privacy legislation they could not divulge more specific details, the FNHA will continue monitoring in the coming weeks.

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In light of the exposure and a recent rise in daily COVID-19 cases across the province, the Fraser-Salish region of the First Nations Health Authority (FNHA) also issued a sobering reminder to the Seabird Island community.

“As the COVID-19 case numbers continue to rise, it is the ideal time to remind our staff and community members of how much influence each of us has simply by observing the precautions we have been practicing from the beginning of the pandemic,” the open letter reads.

The FNHA stated physical distancing protocols alone dramatically cut infection rates, saying increasing social distancing from none to 75 per cent can cause one person to potentially infect three people instead of 400.

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When physical distancing isn’t possible, the B.C. Centre for Disease Control recommends wearing masks to prevent your respiratory droplets from infecting others. Frequent, proper handwashing will also reduce risk.

FNHA officials stated that while this news may cause anxiety and fear, it should instead serve as a call to action to remember protocols and take appropriate COVID-19 precautions.

“The resolution of this situation would not be complete until we shared that it had happened to ensure transparency,” the letter states. “Our recent situation carries with it the gift of opportunity to relay a message to all of you: Remember how much power you have to safeguard your own well-being and that of your family, and exercise it with a good mind and good heart as the coming days unfold.”

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About the Author: Adam Louis

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