COVID-19 in B.C.: Flight from San Francisco with confirmed case, and concerns about young-adult transmission

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      In today’s B.C. COVID-19 update, new case numbers remained around the level of the past two days.

      Unfortunately, another flight from the U.S. has been confirmed with a COVID-19 case.

      Meanwhile, Canada's chief public health officer Dr. Theresa Tam has been addressing concerns about cases among young adults, as well as Canada's overall upward turn of its curve.

      Daily update: July 28

      B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix and provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry issued a joint statement for today’s COVID-19 update.

      Today, B.C. confirmed 23 new cases.

      The number of hospitalized individuals continues to decline and is now down to nine people (three of those patients are in intensive care units).

      The cumulative provincial total is now at 3,523 cases. There have been 1,067 cases in Vancouver Coastal Health; 1,815 in Fraser Health; 143 in Island Health; 358 in Interior Health; 80 in Northern Health; and 60 cases of people who live outside Canada.

      There aren’t any new healthcare outbreaks, and active outbreaks remain in one longterm care facility and two acute care units.

      In addition, there aren’t any new community outbreaks. Active outbreaks remain on Haida Gwaii and at the Fraser Valley Packers blueberry processing facility in Abbotsford.

      A cumulative total of 3,076 people have now fully recovered from the coronavirus.

      Unfortunately, there has been one new death, for a total of 194 fatalities in the province.

      B.C. provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix
      Province of British Columbia

      Air travel

      Another flight from the U.S. has been confirmed with a COVID-19 case.

      Air Canada flight 561 from San Francisco to Vancouver on July 14 has been identified as linked to the coronavirus.

      As affected rows weren’t specified, anyone who was on this flight should monitor themselves for 14 days after the flight date. Anyone who develops symptoms should immediately self-isolate and contact 811 to arrange for testing.

      A United Airlines flight from San Francisco to Vancouver on July 7 had also previously been confirmed with a case.

      Yesterday, several other flights to Vancouver were confirmed with COVID-19 cases, including two flights from Vancouver and a fourth flight from Mexico City.

      Canada's chief public health officer Dr. Theresa Tam

      Young adults

      While early on in the pandemic, much emphasis was placed on protecting older adults but concerns have now shifted toward those who are younger.

      On July 26, Canada’s chief public health officer Dr. Theresa Tam stated that 61 percent of the new cases reported over the past week were among individuals who are 39 years or younger.

      Contrary to previous beliefs that younger individuals did not experience coronavirus symptoms as those who are older, Dr. Tam stated that of the total number of hospitalized cases over the past week, 21 percent were among those 39 years or younger.

      Dr. Tam said that public health needs to improve its connection with younger people.

      “For youth…we do need to do better in how to reach a younger population,” she said on July 24. “The younger age group needs different messaging, I think, better engagement through different channels. So some of the communication strategies, I think, need to evolve, given the population that we’re talking about and [so] that we can reach them better.”

      She asked young people to observe public health measures so “we can still go about some of the economic and social activities in a safer way”.

      According to data from Johns Hopkins University, Canada has had approximately 116,800 cases, with 682 new cases confirmed yesterday, and almost 9,000 deaths.

      In today's national COVID-19 update, Dr. Tam said that she remains concerned that Canada's curve is continuing to trend upward, with a rolling average of 487 new cases daily increasing to 496 cases. 

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