A new variant of the novel coronavirus from the U.K. has been detected in Canada, and according to a recent B.C. COVID-19 update, there is one confirmed case in the province.
The news release was sent on Sunday, December 27, by Dr. Bonnie Henry and Minister Adrian Dix.
It is important to note there is no evidence that the new COVID-19 variant is more likely to cause severe illness, nor is there evidence to suggest the Health Canada-approved vaccines will be any less effective against the new variant.
Dr. Bonnie Henry and Minister Adrian Dix
“B.C. has identified the first case of a person in B.C. infected with the COVID-19 U.K. variant. The individual, who resides in the Island Health region, returned to B.C. from the U.K. on flight AC855 on Dec. 15, 2020, developed symptoms while in quarantine and was immediately tested,” they wrote.
The statement explained that a small number of close contacts of the individual who tested positive are in isolation. Public health is checking in with them daily.
"The variant strain was detected by the BC Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC) Public Health Laboratory in its review of all isolates from people who had recently returned from travel to the U.K.," read the statement, "Whole genome sequencing at the BCCDC identified this as the same as the variant seen in the U.K. Ongoing review may identify additional cases in the coming days.”
In an interview with CTV News, Dr. Henry said that the BCCDC lad will be going back and looking at people who have tested positive after travel in the last few weeks.
“We know that there were other flights that came in from the U.K. (before the flight restrictions) and from other places and we are looking at people who've tested positive on other flights,” she told CTV.
Henry said it is probably that more cases will be identified in the province.
“We are concerned that if it starts to spread here that we could see many, many more cases,” said Bonnie Henry.