Elementary school ordered to close after COVID-19 outbreak leads to 16 cases in Surrey, B.C.

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Fraser Health has ordered an elementary school in Surrey, B.C., to close in response to an outbreak of COVID-19.

So far, 16 people have tested positive at Newton Elementary School, according to a news release from the health authority.

The Surrey School District has been told to close the school for two weeks to break the chains of transmission. It will reopen Dec. 14, according to a letter to parents from school district superintendent Jordan Tinney.

"We recognize that this has been a stressful time as you wait for further information and appreciate the fact that this closure will cause disruption and inconvenience for many. The safety of our school community is of utmost importance and we appreciate your patience and understanding," Tinney wrote.

His email explains that a school outbreak is declared when a significant number of infections are likely to have occurred at a school — beyond one classroom or cohort.

The Fraser Health region has been the epicentre of B.C.'s second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. Of the 911 new cases confirmed across the province on Friday, 649 or 71 per cent were in Fraser Health.