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“Abundance of caution” used in reporting three school Covid-19 outbreaks

Thursday, 10 September 2020. Posted in Shootin' the Breeze

“Abundance of caution” used in reporting three school Covid-19 outbreaks

“Abundance of caution” used in
reporting three school
Covid-19 outbreaks

South zone Covid-19 update
Compiled by Shannon Robison, publisher

Dr. Deena Hinshaw, Alberta’s chief medical officer of health, reported today there are 24 confirmed cases of Covid-19, where the infected persons were present while infectious, at 21 different schools.

School outbreaks (two or more cases present while infectious) were reported today at Chinook High School in Lethbridge, Henry Wise Wood School in Calgary and St. Wilfred Elementary School in Calgary.

“While we are calling these outbreaks, this is a very cautious use of the term,” she stressed. “We are acting out of an abundance of caution by treating two cases who were in a school while infectious, within a 14-day span, as an outbreak, even when the cases are within one family. This is an extremely low threshold to meet.”

All outbreaks remain under investigation by Alberta Health Services and Dr. Hinshaw says there is no evidence of transmission within the schools involved.

When a single case is confirmed to have been present at a school while infectious, and any time an outbreak of two or more cases is declared, all parents and guardians will receive a letter from AHS, through their school, informing them of the situation, the actions being taken and steps that will follow. 

“I want to stress that the map is a tool to keep the public informed, but it is not the vehicle for alerting parents when there is an outbreak at their school,” Dr. Hinshaw said.

Those directly affected will receive information from their school as soon as cases are identified. It is important to note that data will not show on the province’s school outbreak map until the following day due to daily reporting timelines.

School outbreaks will not be reported in real time and the map information will be current to the end of the previous day just as the other pandemic statistics are.

“The best way to assess the safety of schools is to track and monitor the number of cases and schools where an infectious case was present, as well as schools where transmission has happened on that site,” Dr. Hinshaw said on Wednesday.

“There are times when a school sends out an alert before the public health investigation is complete and so some of these alerts may in fact go out before we understand that there was no infectious case in the school. This can cause a discrepancy in our numbers.”

“Focusing on the official numbers and situations where a risk of exposure has been identified is the best way to understand what is really happening in schools.”

The Government of Alberta school outbreak map can be found at https://bit.ly/2FeS3FR.

Outbreaks are declared when two or more confirmed cases are identified in a school setting, within a 14-day period, where the disease could have been acquired or transmitted in a school.

Alerts are issued by individual schools when an infectious case is identified. These alerts are sent directly by the schools and are not currently included on the map.

An outbreak will be declared over when there have been no new confirmed cases in a school for 28 days.

Where there are two to four cases documented, they will be included in the list below the map. Where there are five or more cases, they will appear on the map itself as well as the list.

The three outbreaks reported today appear in the list as there are less than five cases in each of the schools.

An Alternate tracker is available at https://bit.ly/3k6LuUI, where the Support our Students Alberta organization is reporting information as soon as documentation regarding positive test confirmations is received.

Be aware there will be discrepancies between these two reports.

Shootin’ the Breeze will include south zone school information in the daily reporting on our website based on the official information provided by Alberta Health Services, unless contacted directly by a local school.

Stepping away from school concerns, Dr. Hinshaw also announced results today of a retroactive study of over 23,000 blood samples to see if Covid-19 was present prior to the first case diagnosed on March 5.

The samples were taken for other reasons between Dec. 1, 2019 and March 7, 2020. Only one case of Covid-19 was detected from this large sample and was in a person who had returned from travel outside of Alberta in late February.

In total, 15,304 cases of Covid-19 have been confirmed in Alberta. Today’s update includes 113 new cases confirmed from 9,711 tested.

The provincial recovery rate is about 89 per cent as 13,557 have recovered from the virus.

The number of active cases in Alberta has decreased to 1,494. 

To date, there have been 253 Covid-19 related deaths in Alberta, with five new deaths reported today.

There are 43 people hospitalized, with seven in intensive care.

South Zone Information – 1,774 cases 45 active (3 new) 

1,712 people (about 97 per cent of confirmed south zone cases) have recovered from Covid-19. 

Twenty-five people have died since the onset of the pandemic in March. 

There are no hospitalizations in the south zone.

A school outbreak has been reported today at Chinook High School in Lethbridge where the school status is listed as “open.”

School classifications are “open,” “watch,” and “enhanced.”

Open – No schools in this area have outbreaks of five or more cases. Schools remain open under Scenario 1, with near-normal operations with some public health measures. Parents may have received an alert from their school. AHS may be working with local schools, but any additional measures are localized and targeted.

Watch – School outbreak declared with five or more cases where disease could have been acquired or transmitted in the school. Schools remain open under Scenario 1 with the province monitoring risk and working with the school, school authority and AHS. Additional public health measures may be in the place within a school to control the spread.

Enhanced – Risk levels require enhanced measures to control the spread at a school or school authority level. Schools may be moved to Scenario 2 (in-school classes partially operating) or Scenario 3 (at-home learning).

Community Breakdown for Thursday, Sept. 10

Data is up-to-date as of midnight Sept. 9

* Indicates a change in statistics since the last report

Pincher Creek Region (26 total) – 0 active, 25 recovered, 1 death

Crowsnest Pass (2 total) – 0 active, 2 recovered

Fort Macleod (33 total) – 0 active, 30 recovered, 3 deaths

Cardston County/Kainai (104 total) – 3 active, 96 recovered, 5 deaths

I.D. Waterton (0) 

Lethbridge (164 total) – 11 active, 151 recovered, 2 deaths
* 1 new active, 8 new recoveries

Lethbridge County (42 total) – 10 active, 32 recovered
* 1 new active, 1 new recovery

County of Warner (62 total) – 3 active, 58 recovered, 1 death
* 1 new recovery

MD of Taber (39 total) – 0 active, 39 recovered

City of Brooks (1,128 total) – 2 active, 1,117 recovered, 9 deaths
* adjustment of -1 active

County of Newell (32 total) – 0 active, 30 recovered, 2 deaths

County of Forty Mile (25 total) – 4 active, 21 recovered
* 1 new active

Cypress County (31 total) – 0 active, 31 recovered

Medicine Hat (72 total) – 3 active, 67 recovered, 2 deaths

Oyen (13 total) – 0 active, 13 recovered

*** Pincher Creek Region includes the Town of Pincher Creek; MD of Pincher Creek and its hamlets of Beaver Mines, Lowland Heights, Lundbreck, Pincher Station and Twin Butte; the Village of Cowley and Piikani Nation.

All Covid-positive cases are followed up urgently by Alberta Health Services. If you have a positive test, you will be contacted directly by AHS. The Communicable Disease Control team does confidential contact tracing and follows stringent guidelines to determine who is considered a close contact. Those people will be contacted directly.

If you have a positive test, you are not expected to do your own contact tracing and are discouraged from doing so as many factors determine who is considered to be a close contact.

If you have not been contacted by AHS, you are not considered to be a close contact of a positive Covid-19 case.

Residents are to continue following all public health orders and gathering restrictions:

  • Minimum mandatory isolation for 14 days for anyone who is a close contact of someone with Covid-19, or who return to, or entered Alberta from outside of Canada
  • Minimum mandatory isolation for 10 days for anyone who has a confirmed case of Covid-19 or symptoms that are not related to a pre-existing illness or health condition: cough, fever, shortness or breath, runny nose or sore throat
  • Gatherings are limited to 50 people for indoor social events (such as weddings and funerals), 100 for outdoor social events and indoor seated/audience events, and 200 for audience-type community outdoor events.
  • No additional measures are currently in place but people are to continue maintaining physical distancing of two metres from people outside of one’s own household or cohort and to continue practising good hand hygiene.
  • The province’s relaunch status map can be viewed at COVID-19 relaunch status map | alberta.ca

For local news and features, visit our homepage Shootin' the Breeze

Statistical updates will be provided on weekdays and paused on weekends and holidays to coincide with AHS reporting. Should something urgent happen on a weekend or holiday, a special report will be released.

Government of Alberta report for Sept. 10

Currently, 43 people are in hospital due to COVID-19, seven of whom are in intensive care – still well below hospital capacity.

As of today, all zones across the province have cases:

Calgary zone: 594 active cases and 7,274 recovered

South zone: 37 active cases and 1,712 recovered

Edmonton zone: 596 active cases and 3,058 recovered

North zone: 215 active cases and 906 recovered

Central zone: 45 active cases and 577 recovered

Seven active cases and 30 recovered cases in zones to be confirmed

There are 60 active cases and 1,016 recovered cases at continuing care facilities; 162 facility residents have died.

Accessing COVID-19 test results

Albertans can now receive their COVID-19 test results – either positive or negative – from AHS through an SMS text message or an automated phone call.

Individuals who book a COVID-19 test through ahs.ca/covid or drop in for testing at an AHS assessment centre can now choose to get their results through these methods. Anyone who does not consent to receiving results via text message or through an automated phone call will instead receive their results through a call from an AHS team member.

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