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Fear of runaway COVID-19 variant as Maple Ridge high school cohort gets tested

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Any international traveller who arrives in B.C. and is COVID-19 positive has their sample tested for the variants. Henry said case clusters are also being screened for variants.

The three variants — first identified in the U.K., South Africa and Brazil — are reported to spread more easily, leading to more COVID-19 infections.

Henry on Monday reported 12 deaths and 1,158 new cases of COVID-19 over the previous three days. There are 4,132 active cases of the disease in B.C., with 289 people being treated in hospital, including 79 in intensive care.

The number of long-term care homes with active outbreaks has fallen to 24 — with almost all residents and staff at these facilities in B.C. now vaccinated.

Henry said that as of Sunday, 143,383 vaccinations had been given to 138,892 people with 4,491 people having received their second dose of either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines.

She said that despite setbacks in vaccine deliveries, a shipment of Moderna vaccine is expected at the end of the week and also a small amount of the Pfizer vaccine. The plan to have 10 per cent of British Columbians vaccinated by the end of March was still in place, said Health Minister Adrian Dix.

Henry and Dix will reveal on Friday whether current restrictions on all social gatherings would remain in place.

The outcome of the testing at Garibaldi Secondary would play a role in her decision around restrictions, Henry said.

“It is a concern because every time this (variant) is introduced it can spread. We can see in other countries how it has started to spread rapidly and that is what we’re worried about right now. It’s hard to know what’s going to happen in the next little while.”

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