Genetic testing from the B.C. Centre for Disease Control revealed slight differences in strains of coronavirus detected in B.C. (BCCDC)

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

Just Posted

Grant De Patie. (The News files)
Virtual sit-in in memory of Maple Ridge gas attendant killed in 2005

Protest for stronger safety protections for late-night workers

Have an opinion you’d like to share? Submit letters to the editor through our website, via email or the postal service. (Heather Colpitts/Black Press Media)
LETTER: Pitt Meadows does not need new RCMP detachment

Local resident says the price tag is too much

Maple Ridge author Tiffany-Ann Bottcher is one of 21 authors whose real-life stories are featured in the new book Women in Business in a Changing World. (Special to The News)
Maple Ridge author shares real-life story to inspire women in business

Tiffany-Ann Bottcher, is a long-time Maple Ridge resident, a full-time business coach and blogger

People watch a car burn during a riot following game 7 of the NHL Stanley Cup final in downtown Vancouver, B.C., in this June 15, 2011 photo. There’s new evidence the Vancouver police were warned about a possible riot days before violence broke out during the final game of the Stanley Cup playoffs on June 15. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Geoff Howe
Maple Ridge residents share Vancouver Stanley Cup Riot memories

June 15th was 10th anniversary of Canucks Game 7 loss

Maple Ridge's Ron Paley aimed the camera skyward, to the clouds earlier this week, while out for one of his regular bike rides through Pitt Meadows and Mape Ridge. This time, he shared some images he caught while biking to Pitt River Bridge, then north up to the dikes and back around to Laity Street. "Awesome weather for biking… and the cloud formations were unique." (Special to The News)
SHARE: Cyclist stops to admire the clouds

Send us your photo showing how you view Maple Ridge or Pitt Meadows, and it could be featured soon

A small pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins pass by close to shore in Campbell River June 16, 2021. Still capture from video courtesy of Kimberly Hart
VIDEO: Dolphin sunset captured from Vancouver Island shore

Spectacular setting for view of travelling pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins

Police are asking for public assistance in locating Anthony Graham who has been charged with the murders of Kamloops brothers Carlo and Erick Fryer. (RCMP photo)
2 charged, suspect at large in killings of B.C. brothers linked to gang activity: RCMP

Kamloops brothers Erick and Carlo Fryer were found deceased in May on a remote Okanagan road

UFV athletes were honoured for their strength and perseverance during the pandemic. (UFV photo)
Fraser Valley athletes recognized in year without sports

UFV Cascades athletes honoured for strength shown during the pandemic

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Albert Health Minister Tyler Shandro and Alberta Premier Jason Kenney unveil an opening sign after speaking about the Open for Summer Plan and next steps in the COVID-19 vaccine rollout, in Edmonton, Friday, June 18, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Alberta 1st province in Canada to lift all COVID-19 public health restrictions

70.2% of eligible citizens 12 and older in the province have received a dose of the vaccine

Fraser Health registered nurse Ramn Manan draws a dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine into a syringe at a walk-up vaccination clinic at Bear Creek Park, in Surrey, B.C., on Monday, May 17, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Honour our fathers’ with COVID-19 vaccine protection, B.C. urges

109 new cases Friday, 75 per cent of 12 and up immunized

(Paul Henderson/ Chilliwack Progress)
Trutch Avenue in Chilliwack to be renamed to remove racist taint

New name to have Indigenous significance as Chilliwack takes new step toward reconciliation

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is seen during a joint news conference following the EU-Canada Summit, in Brussels, Belgium, Tuesday June 15, 2021. Trudeau says Canada is on track now to have 68 million doses delivered by the end of July, which is more than enough to fully vaccinate all 33.2 million Canadians over the age of 12. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Vaccine deliveries enough to fully vaccinate all eligible Canadians by end of July

Three in four eligible Canadians now have their first dose, nearly one in five fully vaccinated.

Most Read