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Second Protect Our Province BC briefing to spotlight COVID-19 and schools, hear from infected parent on urgent need to make schools safer

Protect Our Province BC will host its second live briefing on Wednesday, October 27, at 4pm. Experts will discuss the evolving science related to COVID-19, children, and schools, and how we can make BC schools safer based on this evidence.

“Case counts remain high in many communities, the more transmissible and severe Delta variant is circulating, children under 12 cannot yet access vaccines, and yet BC is rolling back public health protections. This briefing will examine the body of evidence related to COVID-19 and school transmission, and offer concrete measures to make BC schools safer,” said Dr. Karina Zeidler, family physician and co-founder of POP BC.

The weight of the scientific literature shows that children get COVID-19, can transmit at home and at school, and that measures to protect against this airborne virus, including good ventilation, better masks, and testing, can help protect children and their families from infection, severe outcomes, and Long COVID. 

“In BC, some children have experienced severe outcomes. As of October 9, there have been two deaths, 242 hospitalizations, and 33 ICU admissions. We do not know how many children suffer Long COVID as BC does not collect this data, but international estimates suggest up to 14% of those infected will develop long-term symptoms,” said Dr. Lyne Filiatrault, a retired emergency physician.

Speakers will offer a multidisciplinary perspective on the science on COVID-19, children, and schools. The briefing will also feature parent Elizabete Costa who will recount her family’s experience of continuing to suffer from COVID-19 symptoms, after contracting it at the beginning of the school year.  

Risk Management engineer Michelle Naef will explain the tools to help with improving ventilation during a pandemic, and teacher Jennifer Heighton will speak to transmission in schools and additional measures BC could be taking that would help to make schools safer.

Speakers will include:

  • Dr. James Heilman, MD, Emergency Physician
  • Dr. Lyne Filiatrault, MD, Retired Emergency Physician
  • Michelle Naef, P.Eng, PhD candidate at the University of Alberta, in the David and Joan Lynch School of Engineering, Safety and Risk Management
  • Elizabete Costa, parent, member of Safe Schools Coalition BC
  • Jennifer Heighton, teacher and education advocate; co-founder of Safe Schools Coalition BC

Protect Our Province BC is a grassroots group of physicians, nurses, health scientists, health policy specialists and community advocates. We are working together to help people in BC stay safe by sharing accurate information about the COVID-19 pandemic in BC, and advocating for evidence-based policies. Our ultimate goal is to end this pandemic through a vaccines-plus strategy that includes ventilation, better masks, and improved testing and contact tracing.

Subsequent briefings will be scheduled with dates to be announced. Briefings will include both analysis on the state of the COVID-19 pandemic in BC and expert presentations on a variety of pandemic-related topics.

Archived Briefings from Protect Our Province BC

In honor of February being Heart Month, cardiologist Dr. Leslie Kasza joined Protect our Province BC’s Dr. Susan Kuo for a discussion on COVID-19’s impact on heart health and how you can reduce your risk. Don’t be fooled into thinking it won’t happen to you because you are _________, fill in the blank: young, healthy vaccinated and/or you only had a mild infection, etc.
A Protect Our Province BC panel discussion about how we as a community, can pull together to create a safer learning environment for kids when school starts again in September! We can avoid another ‘tripledemic’ if we work together! Ready for Fall 2023? Briefing video:
“COVID-19 vaccination is safe during pregnancy and may protect newborns from infection, especially if vaccines are given in the second or third trimester. This is similar to what we are already doing with other maternal vaccines, including TDaP and seasonal influenza.” – Dr. Eastabrook

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