June saw lowest number of COVID-19 exposures on B.C. flights in nearly a year

Last month, B.C. airports saw fewer flights with cases of COVID-19 on board than they had in any month since July 2020.

The B.C. Centre for Disease Control added 60 flights to its list of coronavirus exposures during the month of June, continuing a sharp decline since the height of the pandemic's third wave in the province.

After recording 261 flights with cases on board in April - including 82 that were added to the list in a single week - the BCCDC recorded 99 in May. 

The total for June could still change as more people who were aboard flights that passed through B.C. airports during the month test positive for COVID-19 and the BCCDC issues exposure notifications about them. It's highly unlikely, however, that the total will surpass the 96 flights added to the list in August 2020.

The BCCDC posts notifications about flights with confirmed coronavirus cases on board on its website, advising everyone who was on the flights listed to self-monitor for symptoms of COVID-19, seeking testing and self-isolating if any develop. 

The centre also lists rows in which passengers are considered at greater risk because of their proximity to confirmed cases.

While studies have shown the risk of contracting COVID-19 on an airplane is low, there have been some examples of it happening. 

As travel restrictions continue to loosen across Canada and around the world in the coming months, CTV News Vancouver will continue monitoring the number of B.C. flights with COVID-19 cases on board, to see how it changes as air travel volume increases. 

Notably, June's exposure notifications saw a much more even split between domestic and international flights than seen in previous months.

Since the pandemic began, roughly 25 per cent of all exposure notices posted on the BCCDC website have been for international flights. During June, however, nearly 50 per cent of exposures were on international flights.

Thirty-one of the 60 flights added to the list last month were domestic, while 29 were international.