Four flights arrive in B.C. and Alberta with confirmed COVID-19 cases

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      More flights in and out of British Columbia have been confirmed to have had travellers aboard who have tested positive for COVID-19.

      The B.C. Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC) announced on July 15 that four flights arriving in and departing from B.C. had confirmed cases. The number of cases was not given.

      Three of the flights were between B.C. and Alberta.

      Two WestJet flights from Kelowna International Airport were identified. One was Flight 460 from Kelowna to Calgary on July 2. The second was Flight 3312 from Kelowna to Edmonton on July 5.

      Also on July 5, WestJet Flight 185 from Vancouver to Edmonton was identified as having a confirmed coronavirus case.

      Meanwhile, on the international front, Korean Air Flight 071 from Incheon, South Korea, to Vancouver arrived at Vancouver International Airport (YVR) on July 5.

      None of the flights had affected seats or rows specified.

      At the daily B.C. COVID-19 update on July 14, B.C. provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry stated that passengers arriving in B.C. are of great concern to her.

      She also explained that one of the challenges that public-health teams face in contact-tracing infected passengers is that flight manifests (the documents that list the passengers aboard) aren’t very helpful to them.

      She said that airlines could assist in stemming the spread of the virus by providing public health with the contact information of passengers so they can inform individuals seated near an infected person in an efficient and timely manner.

      Meanwhile, this past week, health officials announced that a widespread public-exposure event took place in Kelowna from June 25 to July 6 involving up to 17 individuals in their 20s and 30s from Interior B.C., the Lower Mainland, and Alberta. It has not yet been confirmed whether the cases on the flights between B.C. and Alberta involved anyone linked to the Okanagan outbreak.

      Previously, the BCCDC announced that four domestic and international flights arrived at YVR last week with confirmed cases, as well.

      You can follow Craig Takeuchi on Twitter at @cinecraig or on Facebook