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

QUIZ: Are you ready for a summer road trip?

How much do you really know about roads, motor vehicles and car culture? Take this quiz to find out.

Provincial COVID-19 data can now be used for B.C. to prepare for a second wave

In the past week, B.C. has seen a slight spike in daily test-positive case counts

Column: One parenting book certainly doesn’t fit all

Like the fingerprints they are born with – each child is different.… Continue reading

Pooch abandoned at Penticton doggy daycare suffered from oral disease

A fundraiser for Okie held by the BC SPCA surpassed its goal of $1,700

Keremeos Volunteer Fire Department receives $25k grant

Money used on a truck with low volume, high pressure water pump to fight wildfires

Islanders want BC Ferries to follow order that lets residents board before tourists

For ferry-dependent communities, ferries are often the sole practical lifeline to work, school or medical appointments.

Okanagan sisters-in-law sleep out successful

Kiley Routley and Heidi Routley raise nearly $2,400 and awareness for youth homelessness

Beverly Hills 90210 star’s family selling Vancouver Island Beach Resort

You can own Jason Priestley’s Terrace Beach Resort in Ucluelet for less than $5 million

Genetic detectives begin work to trace spread of COVID-19 in Canada

The kinds of genetic technology being used for this project did not exist when SARS hit Canada in 2003

Sports fishers protest Fraser River Chinook closures

Public Fishery Alliance wants hatchery fish open for harvest

COVID-19: Homeless to be relocated from temporary Okanagan shelter

Homeless shelters in Vernon have been combined into one site at the curling rink since April

Dozens of fish die at popular lake near Chase

A few natural phenomena are possible causes for their deaths.

Most Read