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New West sees COVID-19 cases drop again, teachers to start getting vaccinated

City still seeing more than 100 cases per week
COVID-19 vaccines are being administered across B.C.

The number of new weekly COVID-19 cases in New Westminster continues to drop as part of an overall trend in B.C.

New West recorded 104 cases from April 25 to May 1, which is down from the 122 cases between April 18 and 24, and the 126 cases from April 11 to 17 and below the 151 new coronavirus cases from April 4 to 10.
New West saw 103 cases from March 28 to April 3.
The number is well above the 85 cases between Jan. 24 and 30. New West had 95 cases from Nov. 29 to Dec. 5, 2020.
New West saw 78 cases from March 21 to 27 – up from the 63 cases between March 14 and 20, the 73 cases from March 7 to 13, the 67 new cases between Feb. 28 and March 6, and the 71 new coronavirus cases between Feb. 21 and 27 – the same number as Feb.14 and 20.

The numbers come just as New Westminster school staffers are now able to book appointments for their COVID-19 vaccines.

“I’m relieved that it’s finally happening, but I’m still dismayed that it took so long,” said Sarah Wethered, president of the New Westminster Teachers’ Union. “This was announced during spring break, and spring break was six weeks ago.”

Many teachers in the district have managed to snag vaccines already – through the province’s main age-based rollout, through the AstraZeneca program that’s been offered in pharmacies for designated age groups, or by “stalking” clinics looking for leftover vaccines at the end of the day.

But Wethered said the formal rollout of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccine to all school staff, through a dedicated booking site and access code, is welcome – and overdue.

The past month has seen numerous COVID-19 exposures in New Westminster schools, with eight of the district’s 12 schools having seen exposures since the Easter long weekend. Three schools – Glenbrook Middle, New Westminster Secondary and Richard McBride Elementary – have seen three exposures each since then.

Wethered said the ongoing exposure notices have contributed to rising teacher anxiety.

“It was especially high, especially because of the new variants and the lack of transparency around when people would be getting vaccinated,” she said.

  • With additional reporting by Julie MacLellan