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

Comments are closed

Just Posted

B.C. Supreme Court dismisses claim against Island Corridor Foundation

Snaw-Naw-As (Nanoose) First Nation was seeking return of reserve land as railway sits unused

Consultant presents two options for Ravensong pool expansion project in Qualicum Beach

RDN committee defers decision until more information available on Parksville pool plans

Regional District of Nanaimo wants Sandpiper water quality issues addressed quickly

Area G director Wallace says situation is ‘unacceptable’

All community COVID-19 outbreaks declared over in B.C.

Abbotsford manufacturer cleared by Dr. Bonnie Henry

‘Queue jumpers’ not welcome in B.C. as COVID-19 U.S. cases rise: Horgan

Premier Horgan said he’s heard concerns that Americans have stopped at Vancouver hotels instead of heading to their destination

Minivan crashes into building in downtown Duncan

No word yet on the cause of the crash

B.C. reopening but tourism facing long-term recovery, say Vancouver Island MLAs

B.C. Liberals criticize lack of planning, NDP says consultation and response happening

B.C. First Nations vow to keep fighting after Trans Mountain pipeline appeal denied

Squamish Nation, Tsleil-Waututh Nation and Coldwater Indian Band made the application

Trio of Vancouver Island fire deparments respond to barn blaze

Oyster River, Courtenay and Campbell River fire departments all respond to incident

US officer resigns after photos, connected to death of black man in 2019, surface

Elijah McClain died, last summer, after police placed him in a chokehold

Black worker files discrimination complaint against Facebook

Oscar Veneszee, Jr. has worked as an operations program manager at Facebook since 2017

Most Read