CALGARY — Staff and students who were potentially exposed to a variant case of COVID-19 at two Calgary schools have been placed in quarantine after two children were determined to be infectious.
According to Dr. Deena Hinshaw, Alberta’s chief medical officer of health, both infected students are the children of returning travellers.
The age of the children, the name of the schools, the variant they were infected with and the date of the diagnosis have have not been released.
Dr. Hinshaw took to Twitter on Monday to release news of one infectious student with the variant case and stated that there is no evidence to suggest that anyone else has been infected.
On Tuesday during her regular update, Hinshaw expanded that to say two Calgary schools had students attend while infected.
She said the affected classes had been placed in quarantine prior to the confirmation of the variant cases, as the groups had been identified as being close contacts to a COVID-19 case. All members of the classes have been offered the chance to be tested twice in an effort to reduce the potential risk of further transmission.
“I know that some people are also feeling information overload as they try to understand what all of this means,” said Hinshaw.
“The main reason we are concerned about these variants is that they spread more easily from person to person which is why we must be cautious.”
Teachers are also sounding the alarm about the virus’ rapid spreading.
“The science tells us that the variant spreads faster amongst younger people and that is a concern for teachers,” said Alberta Teachers Association president Jason Schilling.
Alberta’s NDP says the lack of global knowledge on this virus, means the province needs to tighten restrictions and not loosen them.
“What we know about the variant, is that we don’t know about the variant,” said leader Rachel Notley.
Hinshaw said anyone living in a household must isolate if a returning traveller has the mutated disease.
“If cases choose to stay home during their isolation period, their household contacts will now need to stay at home as well in quarantine until 14 days have passed from the end of the cases isolation period,” she said.
“Or a total of 24 days, given how easily this very variant is spreading in homes.”
On the vaccination front, Alberta has administered 107,400 doses with more than 17,000 fully immunized with both doses.
Hinshaw added four cases of a COVID-19 variant have been linked to an outbreak at a daycare. She did not say what zone that is as officals are working to notify parents and staff.
The original version of this story indicated the student had travelled. Alberta Health Services has not confirmed whether the student had been travelling, but confirms the infectious student is the child of someone who recently returned from travel.