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COVID Delta variant a ‘concern’ but not spreading rapidly: B.C. officials

Click to play video: 'B.C. health officials keep close eye on COVID Delta variant' B.C. health officials keep close eye on COVID Delta variant
Even as B.C.'s reopening plan proceeds to phase two, health officials are keeping a close eye on the Delta variant of COVID-19, which could derail some plans. As Ted Chernecki reports, Dr. Bonnie Henry says B.C. is in a good position to deal with it – Jun 14, 2021

As Step 2 of B.C.’s restart plan was announced Monday and will go into effect Tuesday, officials say the infectious COVID-19 Delta variant remains a concern.

On Monday, U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson delayed his plans to lift COVID-19 lockdown restrictions by a month due to the Delta variant.

Click to play video: 'B.C. health officials keep close eye on COVID Delta variant' B.C. health officials keep close eye on COVID Delta variant
B.C. health officials keep close eye on COVID Delta variant – Jun 14, 2021

Evidence from the U.K. suggests that the variant spreads much more easily than others that have appeared in Canada so far.

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B.C.’s provincial health officer, Dr. Bonnie Henry, said Monday the Delta variant is “obviously a concern.”

Click to play video: 'Dr. Bonnie Henry says COVID Delta variant is ‘obviously a concern’' Dr. Bonnie Henry says COVID Delta variant is ‘obviously a concern’
Dr. Bonnie Henry says COVID Delta variant is ‘obviously a concern’ – Jun 14, 2021

“We are going back, as we have been all along, to making sure that we have strong resources to follow every single case of someone affected with COVID-19,” she said.

Last week, Henry said more than 80 per cent of B.C.’s COVID cases are considered variants. But the province is also doing genome sequencing on all cases detected in B.C., and they are able to do it quickly.

Read more: B.C. moves to Step 2 of COVID-19 restart plan on June 15 — what will you be able to do?

This means officials know exactly what strains are circulating and in what community, Henry said.

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“As case numbers come down, it’s making that much easier to do,” she added.

Click to play video: 'COVID-19: What can you do in Step 2 of B.C.’s restart plan?' COVID-19: What can you do in Step 2 of B.C.’s restart plan?
COVID-19: What can you do in Step 2 of B.C.’s restart plan? – Jun 14, 2021

B.C. has seen some cases of the Delta variant, including at a long-term care home and in a few communities, but Henry said the big difference between the U.K. and B.C. is that people in their teens, 20s and 30s in the U.K. are not getting the vaccine, whereas in B.C. we have a high number of immunizations in those age groups.

“We’re not seeing ongoing transmission and taking off of that strain versus any other strain right now,” Henry added.

Read more: Boris Johnson extends lockdown for 4 weeks due to Delta COVID-19 variant

Exposure to the Delta variant is still a little bit unclear, Henry said, but they have seen in B.C. that the vaccines are working at preventing all of the strains of the virus.

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“It is incredibly important to get that second dose as soon as your eight weeks are there,” she said.

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