A plane is silhouetted as it takes off from Vancouver International Airport in Richmond, B.C., Monday, May 13, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward

More COVID-19 warnings posted for U.S. and Canadian flights to B.C.

‘We need to have a system that allows us to identify people rapidly,” B.C.’s top doctor says

More flights have been added to the list alerting passengers who arrived at British Columbia airports of potential exposure to COVID-19.

The BC Centre for Disease Control says passengers on a Delta flight on July 29 from Seattle to Vancouver and a flight from San Francisco to Vancouver on Aug. 1 may be at risk.

All travellers from outside Canada must self-isolate for 14 days, which can limit the possible spread of the illness from international flights.

But the centre says passengers on a WestJet flight from Calgary should also self-monitor for symptoms for the next 14 days.

It says a person with COVID-19 was onboard flight 538 on July 29, affecting rows 5 to 11.

B.C. Transportation Minister Claire Trevena sent a letter to her federal counterpart earlier this week asking for help in getting airlines to provide more complete information on passengers to aid contact tracing efforts.

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said on Tuesday that the lack of contact information public health officials get from airlines “would shock you.”

Henry said the airlines collect information for a different reason, which means health officials might get the name of the person or company who booked the ticket rather than the person who was actually on the flight.

She said they’ve told officials at Transport Canada that during the pandemic public health workers need to be able to contact people quickly.

“Introductions from other provinces, but also from countries into Canada, are one of the things that put us at risk. So, we need to have a system that allows us to identify people rapidly.”

The Canadian Press

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