In a statement on Friday, a Victoria-based senior private school confirmed that a student at the instituation has tested positive for coronavirus.
St. Michaels University School (SMUS) had already closed for spring break, but said in a letter on Friday that the student contracted COVID-19 while at home and was unlikely to be infectious during his last days at school.
SMUS has also stated that health authorities did not instruct the family to inform the school, and they did so voluntarily – however, the school felt compelled to update the families and public with this information.
They also hope that with this new awareness, families will increase their approach to good hygiene and social distancing.
“Although this new information brings this health concern closer to home, the school remains confident in its ongoing strategies and precautions to mitigate the spread of the virus and to ensuring its main priority: the safety and welfare of our students, faculty and staff,” said Andy Rodford, Deputy Head of School at SMUS.
The school officially closed its doors on March 13th due to growing concerns over the COVID-19 pandemic, and is preparing to launch remote learning for all students next month.
This adds to other confirmed cases on Vancouver Island, including 63-year-old man in Victoria who returned from a trip to Egypt, a confirmed case at the University of Victoria, a case in Comox Valley confirmed by an island doctor via Facebook, a case in Ladysmith confirmed by 7-Eleven Canada, and a confirmed case on BC Ferries.
Currently there are 472 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in B.C. including 39 on Vancouver Island.
The federal government recently announced an $82 billion assistance package for Canadians and businesses struggling financially during the global pandemic.
Earlier this week, B.C. joined Alberta and Ontario in declaring a public health emergency in order to curb the spread of COVID-19.
On Wednesday, B.C. Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General Mike Farnworth declared a provincial state of emergency to support the health ministry’s public health emergency.
The provincial government also announced the indefinite suspension of all in-person classes at K-12 schools in B.C.
Canada has tightened its borders and is denying entry to people who are not Canadian citizens or permanent residents in Canada.
U.S. citizens are no longer an exception to this rule, and non-essential travel between U.S. and Canada will be temporarily banned by March 21st. Moreover international flights have now been restricted to international airports in Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver, and Calgary.
The BCCDC has set up a 2019 novel coronavirus telephone information line at 1-833-784-4397 for those who have further questions about this disease.
Anyone concerned that they may have been exposed to, or are experiencing symptoms of the novel coronavirus, should contact their primary care provider, local public health office, or call 8-1-1.
The Province has also created the 1-888-COVID-19 line to connect British Columbians needing non-medical information about the coronavirus pandemic.
As of the time of publication, the total number of COVID-19 patients worldwide has risen to 360,627.
Nearly 15,500 people have died from the illness and 100,658 have made a full recovery.