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B.C. confirms 1st case of new COVID variant

Province says a person in Fraser Health has been infected with the BA.2.86 variant of Omicron

B.C.’s Health Ministry says the first case of a new COVID-19 variant has been detected in the province – and it’s the first known case of this variant in the country.

In a joint statement Tuesday (Aug. 29), Health Minister Adrian Dix and provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry confirmed that a person in the Fraser Health region has been infected with the BA.2.86 variant of Omicron. The person has not travelled outside of the province.

The BA.2.86 variant was first detected in Denmark in July 2023, and has since been detected around the world, including in the United States.

“It was not unexpected for BA.2.86 to show up in Canada and the province. The risk to people in B.C. has not changed. COVID-19 continues to spread globally, and the virus continues to adapt.”

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The joint statement adds that there “does not seem to be increased severity” with the strain. The person has also not been hospitalized.

The detection of the new variant in the province, “reflects the ongoing data monitoring and surveillance in B.C., including continued testing of people with COVID-19 symptoms and innovative new wastewater surveillance.”

The statement adds that the latest wastewater surveillance with whole genome sequencing shows no other detections of the strain and data continues to show XBB 1.5 is still the most common sub-variant being reported in B.C.

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Lauren Collins

About the Author: Lauren Collins

I'm a provincial reporter for Black Press Media's national team, after my journalism career took me across B.C. since I was 19 years old.
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