Fraser Health has confirmed the first COVID-19 variant exposure at a Delta public school.
A notification on the exposure to the variant B.1.1.7, first identified in the UK, was issued Saturday for Hellings Elementary in North Delta, which had an earlier notification that someone infected with the coronavirus attended the school on Feb. 2 and 4.
Further testing revealed it was an exposure to the variant.
Ecole Woodward Hill, Tamanawis Secondary and AHP Matthew Elementary in Surrey were also confirmed as having had exposures to the variant. Other schools were confirmed afterward.
The variant is a major concern for health officials because it spreads more easily.
Delta Teachers' Association president Susan Yao recently told the Delta Optimist potential exposure to the variant has heightened teacher concerns when it comes to COVID-19.
Fraser Health issued the following statement to the Optimist on Sunday afternoon:
"Fraser Health is working closely with the Delta School District to manage a COVID-19 exposure at Hellings Elementary School. Individuals at the school have tested positive for a COVID-19 variant (B.1.1.7 (UK variant). Only those staff and students who have been identified as close contacts need to be tested and have been contacted.
"As this is a variant that is new to our communities and more easily transmissible, Fraser Health is working to identify any further connected variant cases to ensure immediate isolation and case management to prevent further transmission. The variant strain can transmit more quickly and easily but does not seem to cause more severe illness, nor interfere with the effectiveness of vaccines, nor affect our ability to test for the virus."