New COVID-19 exposure at Squamish's Howe Sound Secondary | Squamish Chief

New COVID-19 exposure at Squamish's Howe Sound Secondary

Authorities informed parents of the exposure over a week after it occurred

Parents were informed of a new potential COVID-19 exposure at Howe Sound Secondary on Friday — more than one week since the case occurred.

On Nov. 27, authorities gave parents a letter that informed them of the incident, but no date for the exposure was listed on the letter.

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However, School District 48 spokesperson Jennifer Morris told The Chief the potential exposure for this case occurred on Nov. 19.

As of noon on Nov. 30, the online Vancouver Coastal Health public exposure notice board does not list any exposures for that date. For Howe Sound Secondary, it only lists potential exposures for Nov. 16 to 17.

"A member of the Howe Sound Secondary school community has tested positive for COVID-19," reads the latest letter. "They are self-isolating at home with support from local public health teams."

Morris directed questions about the delay of the notice to Vancouver Coastal Health.

When queried why it took over a week to inform parents, a spokesperson for the health authority said it couldn't comment on individual cases.

"We can't comment on specific cases, but there is no indication there was a delay or that parents were notified 'late,'" said VCH spokesperson Deana Lancaster.

"Our contact tracers work seven days a week, and notify the school and families as soon as they have gathered information and determined it's necessary to do so."

She also described the health authority's contact tracing process.

"When there has been exposure of classrooms or cohorts of students and staff in a school setting, we work with the school administrator to quickly send an email and letter to notify the staff and students (or their parents) identified as contacts," said Lancaster in an email.

"These letters are confidential and we cannot comment on them or on specific cases in the community, to protect people's privacy and health information."

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