New Westminster families have been given a new, expanded health checklist as part of a provincial effort to keep people with COVID-19 symptoms out of schools.
The school district has updated its daily health checklist in response to new February 2021 guidelines from the B.C. Centre for Disease Control.
Under the new guidelines, any student with at least one “key symptom” of illness is expected to stay home and get a health assessment (either from a health-care provider or 811) to determine whether COVID-19 testing is required.
Those key symptoms are:
- Difficulty breathing
- Loss of sense of smell or taste
The new checklist also provides a series of other symptoms to watch for:
- Sore throat*
- Loss of appetite*
- Body aches*
- Extreme fatigue or tiredness*
- Nausea and vomiting
(* denotes a symptom newly added since the previous September 2020 health checklist)
Anyone with one of those symptoms is expected to stay home until they feel better. With two or more of those symptoms, the direction is to stay home for 24 hours. After that time, if symptoms don’t clear up or if they get worse, then a health assessment is required to determine whether further testing is needed. Families can also use the new provincial app for an online check.
WHEN CAN A STUDENT RETURN TO SCHOOL?
If a COVID-19 test has been recommended, then families are asked to follow the guidance provided by the health professional they’re working with. If a COVID-19 test is not recommended, the student can return to school when symptoms improve and they feel well enough to do so.
FRASER HEALTH URGES TESTING
With the more transmissible variants of concern on the rise in the Fraser Health region (the territory from Burnaby to Boston Bar, including New Westminster), the health authority is urging people to take action even for mild symptoms.
“It is critically important for people living in the Fraser Health region to get tested as soon as you have COVID-19-like symptoms, even mild ones,” the health authority said in a statement. “Please don’t wait, and book or drop by one of our collection centres, which are operated in partnership with local Divisions of Family Practice.”
COVID-19 testing appointments can be booked online by filling out a form on Fraser Health’s website.