COVID-19 in B.C.: Two Mexico-to-Vancouver flights with confirmed cases, as Dr. Bonnie Henry urges precautions

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      At the daily B.C. COVID-19 update yesterday (July 20), B.C. provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry presented an epidemiology data update.

      As she noted that the province’s curve is trending upward and that the number of cases is increasing among young adults, she said these serve as a warning that British Columbians need to act now to prevent case numbers from continuing on their trajectory.

      Daily update: July 21

      Dr. Henry and B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix issued a news release as today's update, instead of holding a news conference.

      Today's number of new cases remains around the same as yesterday's (which was 32 new cases), which is higher than numbers over previous weeks.

      There are 30 new cases (including one epi-linked case), which brings the cumulative provincial total to 3,328 cases confirmed during the pandemic.

      That total includes 1,043 in Vancouver Coastal Health, 1,731 in Fraser Health, 140 in Island Health, 291 in Interior Health, 69 in Northern Health, and 54 cases among people who live outside Canada.

      Currently, there are 266 active cases. That includes 15 individuals in hospital, with three of those patients in intensive care.

      The news release stated that there has been a data correction among overall total and active cases, but did not specify the change.

      Once again, there have been no new deaths, leaving the total fatalities at 189.

      In addition, there are no new health-care outbreaks. One long-term care facility and two acute-care facilities remain with active outbreaks.

      B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix
      Province of British Columbia

      Affected international flights

      Aero Mexico Flight AM696 from Mexico City to Vancouver, arriving on July 8, had a confirmed case, with rows 16 to 22 affected.

      In addition, Aero Mexico Flight AM696 from Mexico City to Vancouver, arriving on July 17, has been confirmed to be linked to a COVID-19 case.

      Affected rows or seats were not specified.

      Anyone who was on the flight should limit contact with others and monitor themselves for symptoms for 14 days. If anyone develops symptoms, they should immediately self-isolate and call 811 or their health-care provider for testing.

      B.C. provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry
      Province of British Columbia

      Community outbreaks

      Dr. Henry has previously said that they anticipate there will be many cases developing in the coming days from outbreaks such as the Kelowna exposure event from June 25 to July 9.

      "Many of the new cases are a result of community transmission from an increase in social interactions this summer,” Dr. Henry and Dix said in their statement. "As we have seen in many other places, a few missteps can quickly result is a significant resurgence in new cases of COVID-19.”

      However, Dr. Henry and Dix reiterated that British Columbians can still help to prevent numbers from increasing by taking preventative measures.

      "We can stop transmission by seeing fewer people, only spending time with people we know, keeping a safe distance from others and using a mask when that is difficult,” they stated. "We also need to support contact tracing efforts by paying attention to where we go and who we see, and always, without exception, staying home if we are feeling at all unwell.”

      They also commended restaurants, wineries, and recreational facilities in the Okanagan and Lower Mainland that, after being notified about employees testing positive for the coronavirus, took proactive measures by notifying the public and temporarily closing for cleaning.

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