By Laura Keil

On Wednesday March 17th, Northern Health listed an exposure event at the Valemount Elementary School which occurred March 8-9. Northern Health does not release community-level statistics, but word on the street is that at least a few cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed recently in Valemount, causing some people to buckle down on COVID measures and stay home.

Northern Health says if a student or teacher tests positive for COVID-19, Public Health follows a “rigorous protocol” involving contact tracing and notifying close contacts to advise them to self-isolate and monitor for symptoms for 14 days. Learning groups, friends or other connections may not be considered a close contact.

Northern Health staff says public health staff works closely with the school and school district during the case and contact tracing process and maintains close communication with the school community. An exposure notification does not necessarily mean a child has been exposed to COVID-19. “If you do not receive a phone call or letter from Public Health, your child should continue to attend school. Public Health will contact you directly in case of any school exposure involving your child.”

Northern Health does not release community-level figures for COVID cases, but it does list school exposures and public exposures. As per the Northern Health exposure page, “A public exposure (alert) is issued when public health officials are unable to ensure they can identify and directly contact everybody who may have been exposed to a potentially infectious case of COVID-19 in a public setting.”

Vaccinations are starting in McBride and Valemount for seniors 80+ and Indigenous elders 65+. The clinics for these age groups will run March 29th-April 2nd at the McBride Hospital and Valemount’s Golden Years Lodge. Call 1-844-255-7555 to book an appointment for more information.