If it wasn’t clear before, it is now: COVID-19 isn’t just a Fraser South problem.
The number of new COVID-19 cases has risen sharply across the Lower Mainland over the last week, with significant increases in new cases in Vancouver, the Fraser North region, the Fraser Valley and Vancouver Island, according to new data released by the BC Centre for Disease Control.
Over the last week, new case counts have doubled in the Fraser East health area that includes Abbotsford, Mission, Chilliwack, Kent and Hope. More than 100 new cases of the virus were detected in the region between Oct. 29 and Nov. 5. That compares to 93 such cases the previous week.
Some – but not all – of the new cases are linked to an outbreak at a Chilliwack dance studio. The most-recent city-level data provided by the BC CDC only shows case counts through September, but the Fraser Valley increase comes amid alarming increases in case counts across the Lower Mainland.
The number of new cases rose by 22 per cent in Fraser South (Surrey, Langley, White Rock and Delta), 17 per cent in Fraser North (Burnaby to Maple Ridge) and 39 per cent in Vancouver. Each of those heavily populate regions has seen at least three consecutive weeks of increasing COVID-19 case counts.
There are also worrying signs on Vancouver Island, which has largely – although not entirely – kept COVID-19 at bay and where the number of newly diagnosed cases has only occasionally been in double digits.
Last week, however, 25 people on the Island were diagnosed with the virus – up from just seven the previous week. Despite that rise, the region still has some of the lowest per-capita case rates in the province.
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Fraser South continues to see the most new cases, with a little more than 1,000 confirmed instances of the virus over the last week.
That region’s per capita diagnoses rate exceeded 100 cases per 100,000 people last week. It’s now at 135 cases per 100,000, meaning that one of every 1,000 people in the region was diagnosed with COVID-19 last week.
Vancouver, Fraser North and Fraser East all saw between 60 and 66 new cases per 100,000 people last week.
In the Lower Mainland, Richmond and North Vancouver continue to see the fewest cases of the virus, with per-capita case rates around 20 per 100,000 people.
The number of new cases in Fraser South has been rising sharply since the start of October, while the troublesome trio of Fraser North, Fraser East and Vancouver have been about three weeks. All three of those heavily populated regions have also seen significant increases in new cases over the last month.
What good news there is can be found in the B.C. Interior, where the number of new cases has decreased in the Kootenays, northwestern and northeastern B.C., while holding level in the Okanagan. The Okanagan had seen new cases double the previous week.
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