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B.C. health officials are tracking the variants with genome sequencing to examine the DNA of the virus collected from positive test cases.

Henry said they hope to use a screening indicator test on all cases to detect those with potential variants, with initial detection cases undergoing full genome sequencing.

The province also plans to boost its genome sequencing capacity.

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The latest modelling shows the rate of spread of infections, on average, is at an R-rate of about one. That means that one infected person infects one other person. Rates above one mean that infections will spread rapidly.

The rate of infection has dropped significantly in Fraser Health, which had been a hot spot, to below one. Infection spread rates, however, have jumped in the Northern and Interior Health regions.

The province also released more detailed information on vaccination coverage of long-term care homes, where nearly 90 per cent of 31,000 residents and 39,000 staff have received their first of two doses of the vaccine.

All of the 8,000 residents and 90 per cent of 5,000 staff in assisted living centres have received a first dose.

Henry noted some residents were unable to receive a vaccine because they were infected with COVID-19, and a small number were unable to give consent.

Long-term care homes have been hit particularly hard by the pandemic, with more than 700 deaths accounting for 60 per cent of the total deaths in the province.

ghoekstra@postmedia.com

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