Health officials are working closely with a Maple Ridge high school to manage a COVID-19 exposure, which could be a more transmissible new variant.
An individual at Garibaldi secondary has tested positive for COVID-19 and is a close contact of another case who has a variant of the COVID-19 virus that is different from the ones that are already in the community, said Fraser Health. The health authority did not specify whether it is the UK or South African variant, but said it may spread more easily. The case with the variant does not attend Garibaldi.
In coordination with the school and School District 42, Fraser Health is proactively arranging for testing to take place Monday for staff and students who may have been in contact with the school case when they were at school.
The Maple Ridge COVID-19 test collection centre will be closed tomorrow to support this testing. Appointments have been rescheduled, and walk-ins will be redirected to the Mission, Abbotsford, and Langley COVID-19 test collection centres, which all have capacity.
Only those staff and students who have been identified as close contacts need to be tested and they have been contacted, said Fraser Health. If you have not been contacted, there is no risk of exposure identified. The school will remain open.
As this is a variant that is new to our communities and highly transmissible, Fraser Health is working to identify any further connected variant cases to ensure immediate isolation and case management to prevent further transmission.
The variant strain can transmit more quickly and easily but does not seem to cause more severe illness, nor interfere with the effectiveness of vaccines, nor affect the ability to test for the virus.