The BC Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC) on Friday evening identified 13 more B.C. flights on which passengers may have been exposed to the coronavirus while travelling this month.
On Jan. 15, the public health agency warned passengers that they could have been exposed to COVID-19 while onboard the following recent flights:
- Jan 5: Air Canada 127, Toronto to Vancouver (Affected rows not reported)
- Jan 5: American Airlines 1539, Dallas to Vancouver (Affected rows not reported)
- Jan 6: American Airlines 1539, Dallas to Vancouver (Affected rows 9-13)
- Jan 7: Air Canada 107, Toronto to Vancouver (Affected rows 1-6)
- Jan 7: Air Canada 344, Vancouver to Ottawa (Affected rows16-22)
- Jan 8: WestJet 3176, Abbotsford to Calgary (Affected rows 15-20)
- Jan 9: Air Canada 115, Toronto to Vancouver (Affected rows not reported)
- Jan 8: Lufthansa 492, Frankfurt to Vancouver (Affected rows 23-25)
- Jan 9: WestJet 725, Toronto to Vancouver (Affected rows not reported)
- Jan 10: Air Canada 106, Vancouver to Toronto (Affected rows not reported)
- Jan 10: Air Canada 241, Edmonton to Vancouver (Affected rows not reported)
- Jan 11: Air Canada 305, Montreal to Vancouver (Affected rows 14-20)
- Jan 11: WestJet 3231, Calgary to Abbotsford (Affected rows 15-20)
This announcement is the latest in a string of notifications identifying recent flights that carried one or more individuals who have tested positive for COVID-19 since their flight. This week alone, the BCCDC already added 65 recent flights to its list of possible COVID-19 exposures.
With the number of new COVID-19 cases remaining in the hundreds each day, B.C. provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry implemented new orders last month instructing British Columbians to avoid any non-essential travel outside their home communities. As of this week, those orders have been extended until at least Feb. 5.
Your domestic flight has been identified for having COVID-19 on board. What next?
The BCCDC is encouraging travellers who recently arrived in 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.
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 the full 14 days. The average normal body temperature taken orally is about 37°C, according to the BCCDC.
Pre and Post-Travel Considerations
The Government of Canada has issued a global travel advisory strongly encouraging Canadians to avoid all travel outside of the country until further notice due to the coronavirus pandemic. "This advisory overrides other risk levels on this page, with the exception of any risk levels for countries or regions where we advise to avoid all travel," it reads.
If you do have to travel for an essential purpose, there are several things to keep in mind before you fly.
First, any passengers who have travelled outside of Canada are required to self-isolate and self-monitor for symptoms for 14 days upon their arrival.
Since Wednesday, Jan. 6, Transport Canada now requires all air passengers over the age of five to present a negative COVID-19 test result before travelling to Canada from another country.
As of Nov. 21, air travellers whose final destination is Canada are also required to submit their information electronically through ArriveCAN before boarding their flight. This includes travel and contact information, a quarantine plan (unless exempted under conditions set out in the Mandatory Isolation Order), and a COVID-19 symptom self-assessment.
Travellers must be ready to show their ArriveCAN receipt when seeking entry into Canada; a border services officer will verify that they have submitted their information digitally.
Travellers who do not submit the required information digitally before boarding their flight could be subject to enforcement action, which can range from verbal warnings to a $1,000 fine. However, exceptions will be made for those unable to submit documents electronically "due to personal circumstances, such as a disability or inadequate infrastructure."
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.
- With files from Elana Shepert