Passenger on Air Canada flight to Vancouver is not a new case of COVID-19: B.C. officials

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B.C. health authorities say the passenger on an Air Canada flight from Montreal to Vancouver who later tested positive for COVID-19 is the same case reported in the province Thursday.

The airline says it was advised by health authorities on Saturday about the passenger, who flew into Vancouver on Feb. 14.

“Air Canada is working with public health authorities and has taken all recommended measures,” a spokesperson said in an email Sunday.

READ MORE: 6th case of COVID-19 reported in B.C., contracted by woman visiting Iran

B.C.’s Provincial Health Services Authority (PHSA) later said that female passenger travelled to Montreal from Iran, then flew Air Canada to Vancouver. The COVID-19 case was confirmed to have been contracted in Iran in late January.

The woman, who is in her 30s and is in the Fraser Health region, is recovering at home from a “mild” case of the new coronavirus.

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New case of COVID-19 reported in B.C. after woman returns from Iran
New case of COVID-19 reported in B.C. after woman returns from Iran

PHSA says passengers who were seated near the woman, as well as the flight crew, have been notified by the BC Centre for Disease Control.

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Officials don’t believe any of those people are likely to contract the virus, however, saying they were notified as a precautionary measure.

Neither Air Canada nor the PHSA have provided a flight number for the Air Canada flight.

The Montreal Airport Authority said it had not heard of the case until hearing about it in media reports. It’s not yet known how long the woman was in Montreal before boarding the Air Canada flight.

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Vancouver International Airport could not speak to whether any airport staff have had to be notified about the case, which is still considered presumptive by the province.

Dr. Bonnie Henry on Thursday said officials expect the case to be confirmed, however.

Fraser Health on Friday sent a letter to all school districts within its region — which includes Burnaby, New Westminster, Maple Ridge, Pitt Meadows, and the Tri-Cities — warning that contacts of the woman “may have attended schools in the region and are currently isolated.”

“These contacts were not showing any signs or symptoms of illness while attending school, and remain well,” the health authority’s medical health officer Ingrid Tyler wrote in the letter.

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“There is no public health risk at schools in the region. There is also no evidence that novel coronavirus is circulating in the community.”

COVID-19: Iran says virus has spread to several cities, reports at 2 new deaths
COVID-19: Iran says virus has spread to several cities, reports at 2 new deaths

The case was the first one in Canada to not be connected to travel in China or the country’s Hubei province, where the COVID-19 outbreak first began.

Five other cases have been confirmed in B.C., although one of those has since recovered.

—With files from Brittany Henriques