Calgary

Cases of COVID-19 among school-aged kids surge to new heights in Alberta even as testing declines

As Alberta sets new records for COVID-19 cases, the number of cases among school-aged children has also surged to unprecedented heights, even as the number of kids and teens being tested has declined.

Active alerts at 9% of schools in the province, with 561 active cases among them

This photo from Sir Winston Churchill High School in Calgary was taken in September by a student who was concerned about a lack of physical distancing. (Name withheld by request.)

As Alberta sets new records for COVID-19 cases, the number of cases among school-aged children has also surged to unprecedented heights, even as the number of kids and teens being tested has declined.

Data from Alberta Health shows the number of new daily cases has continued to rise among five- to nine-year-olds and has shot up, especially, among 10- to 19-year-olds.

In-person classes resumed at many Alberta schools on Sept. 1 and for several weeks the number of new daily cases had been on the decline.

That changed during the last week in September, when cases start to rise. The trend has continued through October.

Over the past week on record, an average of 62 cases were recorded per day among school-aged kids and teens.


Dr. Deena Hinshaw, Alberta's chief medical officer of health, has previously noted there was "a massive increase in the number of children who are getting tested" in September compared with the spring and summer.

But testing volumes have been declining, week after week, throughout October.

The proportion of tests coming back positive, meanwhile, has been growing.

In late September, it was below one per cent.

By the third week in October, it was up to 2.7 per cent.


The previous peak in cases among school-aged kids came in April. At that time, Hinshaw said about eight or nine per cent of tests were coming back positive.

As of Thursday, Hinshaw said there were active alerts (involving a single case) or outbreaks (two or more cases) at nine per cent of schools in Alberta, with 561 active cases among those who attend these schools.

A total of 101 schools were listed as having outbreaks, including 27 on the "watch" list, meaning they have five or more cases:

  • Airdrie — Coopers Crossing School.
  • Calgary — Lester B. Pearson High School.
  • Calgary — Clarence Sansom School.
  • Calgary — Nelson Mandela High School.
  • Calgary — Canyon Meadows School.
  • Calgary — Ecole de la Rose Sauvage.
  • Calgary — John G Diefenbaker High School.
  • Cochrane — RancheView School.
  • Edmonton — Archbishop O'Leary.
  • Edmonton — Centre High.
  • Edmonton — Ross Sheppard High School.
  • Edmonton — St. Oscar Romero Catholic High School.
  • Edmonton — Vimy Ridge.
  • Edmonton — Highlands School.
  • Edmonton — Austin O'Brien.
  • Edmonton — Harry Ainlay School.
  • Edmonton — Queen Elizabeth School.
  • Edmonton — Louis St. Laurent.
  • Edmonton — Edmonton Islamic Academy.
  • Edmonton — M.E. LaZerte School.
  • Edmonton — Headway School Society of Alberta.
  • Edmonton — Aurora School.
  • Edmonton — Tipaskan School.
  • Red Deer — Hunting Hills High School.
  • St. Albert — Elmer S. Gish School.
  • Strathcona County — Bev Facey Community High School.
  • Strathcona County — Lakeland Ridge School.

You can find a full list of school outbreaks on the Alberta Health website.

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.

now