Of­fi­cials re­port 146 new cases over past four days, no deaths

Henry ques­tions trac­ing

The Province - - FRONT PAGE - DAVID CARRIGG dcar­rigg@postmedia.com

Air Canada has re­jected claims by the prov­ince that it is not pro­vid­ing ad­e­quate in­for­ma­tion for COVID-19 trac­ers to lo­cate and warn pas­sen­gers who may have been ex­posed to the dis­ease.

On Tues­day, Health Min­is­ter Adrian Dix and pro­vin­cial health of­fi­cer Dr. Bon­nie Henry both slammed the ef­forts of air­lines to pro­vide pas­sen­ger man­i­fests when re­quested.

Henry said it “would shock you to see what we get from the air­lines when we re­quest a flight man­i­fest.

“We rarely get ac­cu­rate in­for­ma­tion about con­tacts, even where peo­ple live … it re­ally is a dis­con­nect in the sys­tem and this is some­thing that we’ve made rec­om­men­da­tions to Trans­port Canada and to our fed­eral coun­ter­parts.

“Dur­ing this COVID time we need to be able to find peo­ple quickly.”

Dix said he had been told by con­tact trac­ers that the in­for­ma­tion they were get­ting from air­lines was inad­e­quate.

“This is an is­sue, get­ting bet­ter ac­cess to more com­plete in­for­ma­tion,” he said.

The B.C. Cen­tre for Dis­ease Con­trol is re­spon­si­ble over­all for con­tact trac­ing, find­ing peo­ple who may have been ex­posed to a per­son in­fected with COVID-19.

It also pro­vides a list of flights that have ei­ther ar­rived at Van­cou­ver In­ter­na­tional Air­port or de­parted that have had an in­fected per­son on board.

Since June 3, there have been 36 of these flights re­ported. Eight of the last nine flights re­ported were Air Canada.

An Air Canada spokesper­son told Postmedia News that the air­line was “baf­fled” by Henry’s com­ments.

“Both Air Canada and the Na­tional Air­lines Coun­cil of Canada … have reached out to Dr. Bon­nie Henry’s, as well as Adrian Dix’s, of­fices on mul­ti­ple oc­ca­sions to dis­cuss any con­cerns they may have, and they have so far re­fused to get back to us,” the spokesper­son said.

The spokesper­son said B.C. has only re­cently re­quested con­fir­ma­tion of seat num­bers for spe­cific pas­sen­gers and that in­for­ma­tion was pro­vided within a few hours.

“Pas­sen­ger con­tact in­for­ma­tion is re­quested when book­ings are made and again at check in,” the spokesper­son said, adding that cases of trans­mis­sion of com­mu­ni­ca­ble dis­ease on air­craft was “ex­ceed­ingly low.”

Henry re­ported 146 new cases of COVID-19 in B.C. be­tween noon last Fri­day and noon on Tues­day, and no deaths. She said there were 319 ac­tive cases of the dis­ease, with eight of those cases in hos­pi­tal, in­clud­ing four in in­ten­sive care.

Henry said there were three ac­tive out­breaks in health­care set­tings, in­clud­ing a new one at the Maple Ridge Se­niors Vil­lage.

Henry said 146 new cases in four days were not sur­pris­ing, given that peo­ple were so­cial­iz­ing more.

FRAN­CIS GE­OR­GIAN

An Air Canada spokesper­son said the com­pany is co-op­er­at­ing with health of­fi­cials.

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