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Another five B.C. flights identified for potential COVID-19 exposure

airport COVID mask flight
A traveller wears a face mask while waiting for flight at an airport during the COVID-19 pandemic. (via Getty Images)

The BC Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC) has added another round of flights to its list of public COVID-19 exposures. 

The public health agency on Thursday (Nov. 26) warned passengers who travelled aboard the following five flights that they may have been exposed to the coronavirus while flying in or out of the province recently:

  • Nov 12: Air Canada 855, London to Vancouver (Affected rows 18-24)
  • Nov 20: WestJet 119, Calgary to Vancouver (Affected rows 4-10)
  • Nov 20, WestJet 3171, Calgary to Comox (Affected rows 3-9)
  • Nov 21: Air Canada 311, Montreal to Vancouver (Affected rows 19-25)
  • Nov 22: Aeromexico 696, Mexico City to Vancouver (Affected rows not reported)

This update comes following numerous B.C. flights that have been identified in recent days for carrying one or more individuals who have since tested positive for the virus, including the six Vancouver flights the BCCDC announced yesterday. 

Thursday's additions to the list were announced just hours after provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry released B.C.'s daily COVID-19 update for Nov. 26, in which she reported 887 new cases of the virus that have been identified in the past 24 hours, along with 13 new deaths attributable to the coronavirus. 

As cases continue to spike, the provincial health officer implemented new orders earlier this month instructing British Columbians to avoid any non-essential travel outside their home health region until Dec. 7. 

Your flight has been identified for having COVID-19 on board. What next?

The BCCDC is encouraging travellers who recently returned to B.C. to check the public health agency's website for updates about flights identified for potential exposures. Passengers who flew aboard a domestic flight flagged for carrying a COVID-19 case are encouraged to self-monitor for symptoms for 14 days following their flight. 

Any passengers who have travelled outside of Canada, meanwhile, are required to self-isolate and self-monitor for symptoms for 14 days upon their arrival.

Any returning travellers who develop symptoms following their arrival in Canada should get tested for COVID-19. Individuals who test positive are required to self-isolate for a minimum of 14 days from their arrival date, or 10 days after onset of symptoms, whichever is longer.

While self-monitoring for symptoms of the virus— which may include fever, cough, chills, sore throat, loss of sense of smell or taste and many more—individuals should take and record their temperature daily, and avoid taking fever-reducing medications like acetaminophen or ibuprofen, if possible, for 14 days following their return to Canada or last known exposure to a confirmed COVID-19 case. The average normal body temperature taken orally is about 37°C, according to the BCCDC. 

For more information about self-monitoring and self-isolation, head to the BCCDC's website

Pandemic devastating travel industry

The country's two largest airlines ended their onboard seat distancing policies on July 1, raising health concerns amid a pandemic that has devastated the travel industry.

Some people continue to take to social media to ask why airlines are permitted to ignore physical distancing protocol while other businesses must adhere to them; others simply say they won't travel with airlines that don't have distancing policies in place. 

As the coronavirus pandemic rages on, the government continues to discourage Canadians from any non-essential travel outside Canada until further notice. Officials have implemented a global travel advisory that effectively "overrides other risk levels ... with the exception of any risk levels for countries or regions where we advise to avoid all travel."

- with files from Elana Shepert and Lindsay William-Ross, Vancouver Is Awesome, and The Canadian Press