Best possible scenarios: what is COVID community spread?
Some call the return to school an experiment in COVID -19 community spread. But it is actually Quebec’s third study of what happens with COVID spread.
The first was back in June. That was when businesses, malls and then patios and restaurants, nail salons and other businesses opened, places where people gathered within a meter of each other. The local spread of COVID – not specific to Aylmer, but for Gatineau, and even Outaouais – showed a low rate of community transmission.
Then came the next so-called experiment in the spread of COVID: summer school. In mid-July those little bubbles of close family members where blown open when thousands of families had someone in summer school. Three weeks after the start of summer school was the possible peak time for a COVID-19 outbreak. It didn’t happen. There were certainly new cases of COVID and a higher number of sick people from COVID, but ICU numbers did not even register a blip.
This is the most encouraging news Aylmer has had in the last six months on the COVID front. There are another two weeks of waiting to see if there is significant COVID spread in Aylmer as a result of thousands of kids and young adults mixing around school yards. The Bulletin received a number of calls alerting the newsroom to groups of teens and pre-teens in neighbourhoods around schools because they were not wearing masks and were in close proximity.
Interestingly, the schools are quite full, meaning that a high percentage of Aylmer families did not keep their children in relative isolation because of COVID. In a way, the community trial with this virus is everyone’s experience.
If the first two waves are any indication, the June opening and the July summer school, the waves of being in close proximity, it is hopeful news. They are an indication of either the resilience of Outaouais people – or the caution folks followed by distancing properly.
Health experts maintained in the last two weeks that the real challenge to cutting the community spread of COVID isn’t the kids; the spread is more virulent and harmful when adults let their guard down. The work break rooms, the chatting in grocery stores – in those moments when talking lasts some fifteen minutes – is when COVID jumps around, and is brought home to the kids.
The least the adults of Aylmer can do is ensure they aren’t passing along COVID to the kids we are sending into large groups at school.