COVID-19 exposure reported at Houston Secondary. (Houston Today photo)

COVID-19 exposure reported at Houston Secondary. (Houston Today photo)

COVID-19 exposure reported at Houston Secondary School

Self-monitoring for symptoms encouraged

Houston Secondary School staffers and students may have come into contact with one lab-confirmed case of COVID-19 between Jan. 11 and Jan. 13, a Northern Health official says.

But exposure to a confirmed case does not mean you or your child will become sick with COVID-19, Dr. Raina Fumerton has written in a letter to school principal Jaksun Grice today that is now being widely distributed.

“COVID-19 has a very low infection rate in children, and most are not at high risk. We expect to see COVID-19 cases in various community settings, including school settings, but we expect the risk of transmission in school to be low in most circumstances. The risk of transmission becomes more significant if someone is considered a close contact.”

Fumerton, the northwest medical health officer, said every school in B.C. has a COVID-19 safety plan and that the plan has been followed at the school.

She noted that Northern Health employees follow up directly with anyone who is identified as a close contact of a lab confirmed case.

“It is important to note that a close contact is a person who has been in direct, face-to-face contact for prolonged periods of time with an infectious case. People with COVID-19 are considered contagious (infectious) from 48 hours before onset of their symptoms (before they may realize they are sick), up until 10 days after their symptoms began,” Fumerton wrote.

“If you or your child has no symptoms and you have not been informed personally by public health that they are a close contact and should self-isolate – you and your children are not required to self-isolate. However, please take extra care to monitor your child/children for symptoms until Jan. 27 , 2021 midnight (which is 14 days from the last date of possible contact with the confirmed case).”

Fumerton is encouraging self-monitoring and that testing is available for everyone with COVID-18 symptoms.

Those symptoms include fever, chills, cough or worsening of chronic cough, shortness of breath, sore throat, runny nose, loss of sense of smell or taste, headache, fatigue, diarrhea, loss of appetite, nausea and vomiting and muscle aches.

While less common, symptoms can also include stuffy nose, conjunctivitis (pink eye), dizziness,confusion, abdominal pain or skin rashes or discoloration of fingers or toes.

More information on the definition of a high-risk close contact, can be found here: http://www.bccdc.ca/health-professionals/clinicalresources/case-definitions/covid-19-(novel-coronavirus)

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