The chief district doctor said Friday that Alberta has identified its first potential case of COVID-19 transmission within the school.
Dina Henshaw, the chief medical officer for health in Alberta, said at a press conference that the second case at Waverley School in Edmonton had most likely been transmitted from another member of the school who had tested positive for the virus.
Henshaw said both people were contagious within the school and that one of them “appears to have been the source of the other. Although it is difficult to determine where 100 percent transmission occurred, given the facts in this case, it appears to be a likely case.”
Henshaw said the transmission of the virus inside the school was “not unexpected and not a cause for concern.”
“However, I know that many are concerned about school safety and I felt it was important to share this information with you and talk about what it means.”
Waverley School is a public elementary school in the Kenilworth neighborhood of Southeast Edmonton. Last year it had around 170 students.
Edmonton Public Schools said about 12 students from a combined class of 1/2 class and seven employees will now be home-isolated for 14 days, monitor symptoms and undergo testing.
Hinshaw said that as of Friday morning, 78 individuals have been enrolled in the school while they have contracted COVID-19. She said 57 of the 2,415 schools in Alberta had reported one or more of the infectious cases.
So far, she said, none of the cases that were reported as contagious while at school were sick enough to require any type of acute care treatment. “Nobody I know has been in the hospital or in the intensive care unit.”
‘Shame and blame’
Henshaw said cases of Covid-19 virus in schools can lead to “shame and blame,” which in turn causes anxiety for people in the school community.
When I paid two cases at Leicester B. It is not safe to be around you or the school itself might have been a bad environment. ”
Likewise, when St Wilfried Elementary School in Calgary was placed under surveillance, it said that officials “still hear reports of stress and anxiety in parents and students.”
Henshaw said although Waverley School had its first possible case of in-school transmission in Alberta, the people in the school community “are no different than everyone else.”
“They are doing their best. This is the first place this dispatch happened. It doesn’t mean the school is bad or wrong, and the people who go to this school shouldn’t be treated as if they’ve done something wrong.”
The danger in what she called “this tendency to point fingers” is that people may choose not to undergo testing or screening for symptoms.
“If COVID-19 goes underground, and we can’t understand how it is spreading, it will cause more damage. I really want to advocate for the collective approach to support and encourage each other and when we locate the mistake, we do our best to deal and move forward.”
On Thursday, there were 1,483 active cases in Alberta. No additional deaths were reported.
Across Alberta, 41 people have been hospitalized for the disease, including eight in intensive care beds.
Since the start of the pandemic in early March, Alberta has reported 16,274 cases of COVID-19. Of this total, 1,483 cases were listed as active on Thursday, and 14,537 cases were listed as recovered.
As of Thursday, 254 people in the county have died from the disease.