Younger people are driving the new surge in community infection of COVID-19, new data from the B.C. Centre for Disease Control show.
Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry released the province’s latest infection modelling information Nov. 12, showing the highest rate of infection in October and November is among people from 20 to 29 years old, followed by the 30-to-39 age group. Those groups have driven the latest spike in infections, which continued at more than 500 daily cases Nov. 11 and 12.
Younger people are passing on the coronavirus through social activities and exposures in gyms and workplaces, and “what we’re seeing now is spillover into older age groups” as clusters spread, Henry said.
Visitors to private homes, family gatherings including funerals, and the gatherings in conjunction with old-timers’ hockey, youth soccer and football, as well as gym visits have added to the spread, which continues to be concentrated with more than 70 per cent of cases in the Fraser Health region this week, according to the latest modelling and contact tracing results.
“The sport itself is fine, but it’s the gathering together afterwards,” Henry said.
Henry described two scenarios based on real incidents, one being a single infected person who attended a wedding. That exposed 50 people, the maximum for gatherings, and 15 wedding guests later tested positive for COVID-19. That led to another 10 households with a positive test, 37 people required to self-isolate for two weeks and a family business that had five employees infected. One of the wedding guests worked at a long-term care home, and that led to 81 residents required to self-isolate in their rooms under outbreak protocol in the health care system.
Another case at a fitness class was traced to 180 positive cases at two group fitness studios.
Henry said with testing capacity increased to 10,000 or more tests a day, B.C.’s contact tracing to find exposed people has been “stretched to the max and we are falling a little bit behind.” Testing will be have to be managed as more people show up with similar symptoms caused by seasonal influenza.
“What we’re focusing on is seeing that people who need a test get a test,” Henry said.