Possible brush with COVID-19 variant prompts tests at Maple Ridge, B.C., high school

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MAPLE RIDGE, B.C. — Health officials in British Columbia say specific students and staff at a Maple Ridge high school will receive COVID-19 tests after a person at the school had close contact with someone carrying a new strain of the virus that causes the illness.

Fraser Health says Garibaldi Secondary School remains open while efforts are underway to manage the exposure because the variant strain is not one currently in the community.

Mutations of COVID-19 are known to spread more quickly, but doctors say they do not seem to cause more severe illness, interfere with the effectiveness of vaccines or affect testing for the virus.

The health authority says the person who originally developed the variant version does not attend Garibaldi Secondary and all affected individuals at the school have been told about the need for a test.

A statement from Fraser Health says it is working to identify any other connected cases and ensure immediate isolation of those involved to prevent further transmission.

Chief health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix are set to provide an update on COVID-19 cases in British Columbia after confirming 514 new cases of the virus on Friday, and five more deaths .

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 1, 2021.

The Canadian Press