A man wearing a protective face mask to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 checks his phone as the sun sets in English Bay in Vancouver, B.C., Monday, April 5, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward

A man wearing a protective face mask to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 checks his phone as the sun sets in English Bay in Vancouver, B.C., Monday, April 5, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward

From now on, all COVID-19 cases in B.C. presumed to be more infectious variants: Henry

Whole genome sequencing will be used to monitor trends and emerging variants

B.C. will now assume that all new COVID-19 cases in the province are one of the highly infectious variants, provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said Thursday (April 8) at a press conference where she announced a record-breaking 1,293 cases.

“Given this high rate of variants of concern, they will be to no longer routinely sequenced for confirmation,” Henry said. There will be a proportion screened systematically over time to help the province understand new outbreaks, and Henry said that whole genome sequencing will help determine new variants.

Henry said that the B.1.1.7 variant, which has a “competitive advantage” in B.C., has presented with slightly higher hospitalization rates. Overall, non-variant COVID cases have a hospitalization rate of 4.2 per cent, while B.1.1.7 has led to a hospitalization rate of five per cent. Hospitalizations among people who have the P1 variant have not increased.

According to B.C. Centre for Disease Control data, about 75 per cent of all variant cases in B.C. have been B.1.1.7. People between the ages of 20 and 49 make up 61 per cent of all variant cases in B.C.

4.2% covid to hospital

READ MORE: B.C. sets new COVID-19 daily record with 1,293 cases

More to come.

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