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More B.C. flights flagged for potential COVID-19 exposure in January

The flights included in Saturday's announcement from the BCCDC took off between January 3 and 11
The British Columbia Centre for Disease Control continues to issue public notifications about flights identified for carrying one or more individuals who have tested positive for COVID-19 since travelling. Photo: Getty Images

The British Columbia Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC) on Saturday evening identified 13 more B.C. flights on which passengers may have been exposed to the coronavirus while travelling to or from Vancouver this month.

On Jan. 16, the public health agency warned passengers that they could have been exposed to COVID-19 while onboard the following recent flights:

  • Jan 3: Air Canada 551, Los Angeles to Vancouver (Affected rows 50-55)
  • Jan 3: Air Canada 114, Vancouver to Toronto (Affected rows 12-14)
  • Jan 5: Air Canada 127, Toronto to Vancouver (Affected rows 22-28)
  • Jan 5: Air Canada 567, San Francisco to Vancouver (Affected rows 12-16)
  • Jan 9: Lufthansa 492, Frankfurt to Vancouver (Affected rows 22-26)
  • Jan 10: Air Canada 241, Edmonton to Vancouver (Affected rows 26-32)
  • Jan 10: Air Canada 103, Toronto to Vancouver(Affected rows 17-23)
  • Jan 10: Air Canada 106, Vancouver to Toronto (Affected rows 12-14)
  • Jan 11: Air Canada 305, Montreal to Vancouver (Affected rows 14-20)
  • Jan 11: Air Canada 311, Montreal to Vancouver (Affected rows 29-35)
  • Jan 11: WestJet 227, Calgary to Vancouver (Affected rows 11-17)
  • Jan 11: Lufthansa 492, Frankfurt to Vancouver (Affected rows 29-37)
  • Jan 11: Royal Dutch Airlines 681, Amsterdam to Vancouver (Affected rows 36-40)

These notifications are the latest in a string of flights that have recently been identified for carrying one or more individuals who have tested positive for COVID-19 since their flight. Earlier this week, the BCCDC already added 65 recent flights to its list of possible COVID-19 exposures, tacking 13 more flights onto that number in a Friday, Jan. 15 announcement.  

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 earlier this winter 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