P.1 variant likely highest in B.C. due to more testing for it: top doctor

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VICTORIA — British Columbia's provincial health officer says the province likely has the largest proportion of COVID-19 cases involving the variant first identified in Brazil, but that's partly because it is testing more for that strain.

Dr. Bonnie Henry says the Vancouver Coastal region is leading all other health authorities with about 70 per cent of P.1 variant cases because of a large number of cases linked to the resort town of Whistler.

She says that overall, just under 60 per cent of daily cases involve variants, including the one first associated with South Africa, though those cases are negligible compared with P.1 and the variant first identified in the United Kingdom.

She says calls for school closures in some regions of the province would not make sense considering data showing so few cases are linked to those structured settings.

There are 1,205 new cases in B.C. and three new deaths.

There is also another new daily record for hospitalizations at 409 and the number of people in intensive care has reached a new peak at 125.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 15, 2021.

The Canadian Press