A COVID-19 outbreak has been declared at Capella Dance Academy in Chilliwack. (Paul Henderson/ Chilliwack Progress)

A COVID-19 outbreak has been declared at Capella Dance Academy in Chilliwack. (Paul Henderson/ Chilliwack Progress)

26 COVID-19 cases linked to Chilliwack dance academy as outbreak declared

Parents said academy had stricter COVID-19 protocols than public schools

More than two dozen COVID-19 cases have been linked to a Chilliwack dance academy, health officials say.

Fraser Health declared a COVID-19 outbreak Monday evening at Capella Dance Academy. The health authority says 26 people at the location have tested positive, with case and contact management “ongoing.”

People who have contracted COVID-19, along with their close contacts, have been told to self-isolate.

The first cases at the dance academy came a little less than a week before a dozen Chilliwack schools sent exposure notices advising of cases at their schools.

Fraser Health said, in its release, “We are also working with the Chilliwack and Fraser-Cascades school districts to ensure they are informed of any potential exposure and are working together to ensure the safety of staff and students.”

Last week, letters were sent to families involved with the academy informing them of a COVID-19 case at the site.

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Since then, Capella owner Sarah Sturrus-Wood has confirmed that she has the virus, and Fraser Health said in a letter that potential exposure might have occurred on Oct. 21 and 22, between 2:30 and 10 p.m. on both days.

Sturrus-Wood said she had not been in the studio since those dates.

In a letter to parents, she urged the parents of children who weren’t feeling well to get tested. She also said she would be closing her studio – even though Fraser Health didn’t order it closed.

Parents with children at the studio expressed surprise because, they said, the academy had stricter COVID-19 protocols than public schools, including masks in common spaces, no adults in the studio, physical distancing and staggered classes.

In its release announcing the outbreak, Fraser Health said: “Fraser Health will inspect the site and we are continuing to work with the dance academy to strengthen their COVID-19 mitigation strategies.

-with files from Eric Welsh

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