Fraser Health officials have confirmed that one of several new cases of novel coronavirus (COVID-19) is connected to a Surrey high school.
According to a March 8 letter to the “Sullivan Heights school community” that was shared on Instagram, “one of the confirmed cases is a member of the Sullivan Heights Secondary community.”
“This person was asymptomatic during their time at the school; therefore, the risk to the school population is minimal,” the letter states. “There is no evidence that novel coronavirus is transmitted via asymptomatic individuals and the risk is low for the staff and students at Sullivan Heights.”
To be safe, the Surrey School District “is enhancing cleaning protocols and reinforcing public health recommendations during daily morning announcements to the school community,” the letter adds.
The letter emphasizes that assessment and testing for the virus is not being recommended for those who receive the letter, but encourages anyone who may be concerned about their need for assessment to call 811.
“We remind people the risk to the public is low and those who need to be aware of possible exposure have been contacted.”
B.C. health officials on Saturday confirmed six new cases of COVID-19, including two in a North Vancouver care home.
Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said the care-home cases are connected to a healthcare worker who is being treated as the first community transmission of the virus.
The other four cases that were announced Saturday also live within the Fraser Health region.
Health officials are urging people to stay home if they are feeling sick and be cautious with the elderly people in their life, including hosting “virtual gatherings” instead of in-person events.
“I’m very concerned about it,” Henry said of the virus. “I went through SARS, I have been through Ebola… and I just know how stressful it is for the health-care system and health-care workers and families.”
The March 8 letter to the Sullivan Heights community also encouraged anyone who feels sick to stay home, “regardless of symptom severity.”
Health officials have said that elderly people and those with underlying conditions are the most at-risk of having severe disease or complications if they contract the virus.
Steps recommended to reduce the chance of spreading illness include regular handwashing for at least 20 seconds with soap and water; using alcohol-based hand rubs; avoiding touching your face, eyes and mouth with unwashed hands; and sneezing or coughing into a disposable tissue or the crease of your elbow.