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August hits record-breaking number of flight exposures through Victoria

20 flights with cases of COVID-19 onboard reported through YYJ for August so far
A record-breaking number of flight exposures were reported through the Victoria International Airport in August, as more people return to the air. (Black Press Media file photo)

A record-breaking 20 flight exposures have been reported through the Victoria International Airport so far for August, according to the B.C. Centre for Disease Control.

In the last two weeks, six new exposures have been reported.

On Aug. 14, passengers in rows 13 to 19 on Air Canada flight 8069 from Vancouver to Victoria were exposed to a case of COVID-19. The following day, those in rows 10 to 16 on WestJet flight 3432 from Victoria to Calgary were also exposed.

A case onboard Flair flight 516 Aug. 19 from Calgary to Victoria put passengers in rows 27 to 32 at risk. On Aug. 22, those in rows 26 to 30 on WestJet flight 196 from Victoria to Calgary, and those in rows six to 12 on Air Canada flight 8062 from Victoria to Vancouver were exposed.

The latest case to be reported was on Flair flight 517 from Victoria to Calgary Aug. 23, where passengers in rows nine to 15 were the most at risk of being exposed to the virus. More August flight exposures may be reported in the coming days as the B.C. CDC hears from airlines.

READ ALSO: Resident dies as COVID-19 outbreak worsens at Esquimalt care home

All affected passengers are asked to self-monitor for COVID-19 symptoms for 14 days, which include fever, chills, cough, shortness of breath, sore throat, runny nose, the loss of sense of smell or appetite, muscle aches, fatigue and headaches, diarrhea, and nausea or vomiting.

The August exposures are a nearly four-fold increase over July when only six cases were reported, and a 10-fold increase over both May and June, which reported two each. August is three exposures higher than the previous record of 17 in April.

The number of passengers through the Victoria International Airport has also been increasing. In May, 12,746 people went through its doors, followed by 26,332 in June and 68,292 in July, according to the airport authority. In a non-pandemic year, the average number of people through the airport in a summer month would range between 160,000 and 215,000.

The August numbers are not yet up.

READ ALSO: B.C. expecting to see COVID cases rise in September – even with latest restrictions

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About the Author: Peninsula News Review Staff

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