COVID data sharing is slow, incomplete, and confusing – Agassiz Harrison Observer


We’ve seen exposures, clusters, outbreaks, some vectors, and definitely a handful of super-spreader events.

“What the hell are you talking about?” asks the March 2020 version of each of us.

Welcome to our new, undesirable and highly confusing slang.

From parents to teachers to employers and employees, we may have thought that navigating a global pandemic would become easier over time, but instead it seems to have become more difficult.

Looking at the situation regarding COVID-19 in schools, the BC Teachers’ Federation (BCTF) recently asked the province for more clarity on how different school exposure events are classified and to speed up contact tracing.

“It is unacceptable that after over a year and a half after this pandemic, there is still no provincial consistency in the definition and reporting of exposures and clusters in schools,” said BCTF President Teri Mooring.

“Parents and teachers are reaching out to their school district and local health department for information about what is happening in their schools, and it has become very clear that the information and communication provided to school communities is not an accurate picture. Trust in the system is broken. “

Teachers have found “significant inconsistencies” in classifying outbreaks, clusters and exposures, according to the union.

The exposures in schools can be found on the website of the relevant health authority. Outbreaks and clusters are not listed, only exposures or potential exposure events. In Fall 2020, Fraser Health defined three types of event: An “exposure event” was defined on the health authority website as “a single person with laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 infection who attended school during their infection phase”. a “cluster event” infected two or more people; and “outbreak events” resulted in widespread infection and transmission in schools.

Are you still there?

Then there are the parents behind the BC School Covid Tracker website and Facebook page, which lists all exposures in a database confirmed by health letters, school letters and the BC Center for Disease Control (BCCDC) website.

During the week of October 26th, there were 28 exposure events at Chilliwack schools, including 21 in public schools and seven in independent / Christian schools.

Sounds like a lot, but what does that mean? What should parents do?

These are not rhetorical questions. I have no answers and many parents continue to be confused about how information is passed on and what that information means in our daily lives.

A Fraser Health Spring 2021 presentation defines a “confirmed cluster” as “at least one school transmission event (possible or likely) in a 14-day period”. while a “declared outbreak” is a “cluster of evidence of persistent transmission in multiple classrooms / administrative areas”.

However, this definition is not currently available on the Fraser Health School Burdens website or on the websites that list the burdens for other health authorities.

The BCCDC defines a cluster as “multiple cases in a school over a period of two weeks. Public health believes that people may have become infected in school, ”while an outbreak occurs when a cluster requires“ significant action ”to stop the spread of COVID-19 in school. Public health can take extraordinary measures, such as temporarily closing the school. “

Again, still follow?

A recent BCTF survey found that 71 percent of teachers said they weren’t getting enough information about COVID cases in their schools and districts.

When we interviewed parents, I suspect that number could be even higher.

Still, none of us seem to know what to do with the information anyway.

Do you have anything else to add to this story, or should we tell you something else? E-mail:
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