Fraser Health has announced that a COVID-19 variant of concern has been detected at additional schools in Surrey and in Delta.

In a statement, Fraser Health said it is working closely with the Surrey School District to manage COVID-19 exposures at  James Ardiel Elementary School, Surrey Traditional Elementary School, and Gobind Sarvar, an independent school.

Earlier exposure notices were also announced at École Woodward Hill Elementary School, Tamanawis Secondary School, and A.H.P. Matthew Elementary School.

Fraser Health says it is also working with the Delta School District to manage outbreaks at Hellings Elementary School.

“Individuals at each school have tested positive for a COVID-19 variant of concern,” notes Fraser Health.

The health authority says only staff and students who have been identified as close contacts need to be tested and have been contacted. The schools will remain open.

Most cases appear to be linked to community transmissions.

“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,” states Fraser Health.

As of February 18, there are 72 cases of COVID-19 variants in British Columbia.

Fifty-two are cases of the UK variant, and 20 are the South African (B.1.351) mutation. One case of the Nigerian variant (B.1.525) was previously detected in the province.

BC health officials reported 508 new COVID-19 cases on February 19, bringing the total the province has seen since the start of the pandemic to 75,835.

Fraser Health also provided an update on a community outbreak at Grand River Foods, a food processing plant located at 31100 Wheel Avenue, Abbotsford.

The plant has been closed and to date, 22 employees have tested positive due to this outbreak. A COVID-19 variant has not been linked to this outbreak.

“Fraser Health is working with staff to identify anyone who may have been exposed, and is taking steps to protect the health of all staff.”

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