Genetic testing from the B.C. Centre for Disease Control revealed slight differences in strains of coronavirus detected in B.C. (BCCDC)

March dental conference key to many of B.C.’s COVID-19 cases

Early infections from China, Iran were quickly contained

B.C.’s earliest cases of COVID-19 came from China and Iran, but the largest number of cases are linked to travel from Europe, the U.S. and Eastern Canada, provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry says.

Henry reported June 4 on gene sequencing of samples that shows slightly different strains of the virus that causes COVID-19 from different regions. The European-like and Washington state-like strains took off after an international dental conference in Vancouver in early March, and Henry soon ordered self-isolation for everyone who had attended as positive tests started to show up.

“The first parts of those were related to the dental conference that happened in Vancouver, and we started to see people popping up in communities around the province,” Henry said. “And we linked them by our case investigations and contract tracing to the fact that many of them had attended this conference.”

After the March rise in new cases, new coronavirus positive tests have slowed down. That trend continued with five new cases identified as of June 4.

After the March rise in new cases, new coronavirus positive tests have slowed down. That trend continued with only five new cases identified as of June 4. There were no new outbreaks in the health care system and no new deaths related to COVID-19, with outbreak measures still in place in six long-term care homes.

Henry reported one new community outbreak, at a Burnaby shelter called the Beresford Warming Centre. Most of the positive tests have been in staff members.

RELATED: B.C. testing ramps up, focuses on dental conference

RELATED: Dentist conference attendees get first virus warning

Henry said the quick containment B.C.’s initial cases of returning travellers from Wuhan, China and Iran show the value of avoiding large gatherings like the dental conference. This was demonstrated by changes in the genetic pattern, which she said changes more slowly than seasonal influenza strains.

There have been 87 people whose infection is traced to the dental conference, and they had three different strains of virus, showing they gathered from the U.S., Eastern Canada and Europe and seeded the virus in B.C.


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

BC legislatureCoronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

From baseball stars to forest fires: Southeast Fire Centre water bomber has an interesting past

Tanker 489 is stationed in Castlegar this year, but in the 1960s it belonged to the L.A. Dodgers.

Student athletes recognized for outstanding seasons

Fernie Secondary School students got their awards in a drive by ceremony last week

The Elk Valley celebrates Canada Day

Creative socially distant Canada Day festivities were held in both Fernie and Sparwood this week

Vintage vehicles, costumed drivers cruise Fernie streets

Wheels in the Valley hosted their first ever Rally in the Valley event this past Saturday

Food conditioned black bear destroyed in Elk Valley

The bear was destroyed by the Conservation Officer Service on June 28

B.C. identifies 20 new COVID-19 cases, travellers specified in count

Pandemic total 3,028 cases, 51 people from outside Canada

B.C. residents can go to the Royal BC Museum for half price this summer

Museum reopening in phases, COVID-19 measures in place

Filing deadline in RCMP sexual-harassment class-action extended due to COVID-19

Plaintiffs now have until January 2021 to submit claims for up to $222,000

Jamie Bacon pleads guilty to charge in Surrey Six case

The plea brings an end to a complex legal case that has spanned more than a decade

Hefty undeclared driver charges piling up, ICBC warns customers

Average extra penalty $2,971 after an at-fault accident

Survey, hotline launched amid probe into racist blood-alcohol guessing game at B.C. hospital

Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond has been appointed to lead an investigation by Health Minister Adrian Dix

B.C. appeals judge’s decision to leave three clubhouses in Hells Angels hands

The province has filed two notices of appeal related to the B.C. Supreme Court decision

Conservation officers relocate Spirit bear known to roam northwestern B.C.

Bear roamed valley north of Terrace for many years

B.C. premier applauds call to decriminalize drug possession

Police shouldn’t struggle with health issues, Horgan says

Most Read