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Public Health Officer offers more details on P1 variant in Whistler

Multiple visitors, not 'superspreader' event brought COVID-19 varian to the resort
Screen Shot 2021-04-06 at 5.48.09 PM
Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry on Tuesday, April 6.

Whistler’s recent COVID-19 outbreak of the P1 variant had several chains of transmission and was likely due to multiple visitors, said Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry during her briefing today, April 6.

“We had several different introductions in Vancouver and in Whistler, probably mid-to-late February and these ones had several different chains of transmission,” she said. “It wasn’t one single cluster or superspreader event; it was many different chains that were happening in and around Whistler, as we know.

“We were doing a lot of testing and there was a lot of transmission happening in young people and people who were visitors as well. And it is likely that visitors from other parts of Canada initially introduced that strain, but then it started to circulate  … between workers, visitors, and, from there, spread to other parts of the province.”

Health officials estimate that the P1 variant circulation peaked the week of March 22, and suspect most of those cases have been identified to help stop transmission, but with a 14-day incubation period, that still remains to be seen.

In total, there have been about 197 cases of the P1. variant in Whistler alone, in comparison to 1,120 cases recorded in the resort in 2021, though that number hasn’t been updated since March 30.

“[It’s] a small percentage,” Henry said.