The number of new COVID-19 cases has risen sharply in the Lower Mainland over the past week, with a significant increase in new cases in Vancouver, the North Fraser region, the Fraser Valley and on the Island of Vancouver, according to new data released by the BC Center for Disease Control.
Over the past week, the number of new cases has doubled in the Fraser East health region which includes Abbotsford, Mission, Chilliwack, Kent and Hope. More than 100 new cases of the virus were detected in the region between October 29 and November 5. This compares to 93 such cases the week before.
Some – but not all – of the new cases are linked to an outbreak at a dance studio in Chilliwack. The most recent city-level data provided by the BC CDC only shows the number of cases through September, but the Fraser Valley’s increase comes amid an alarming increase in the number of case in the Lower Mainland.
The number of new cases increased by 22% in Fraser South (Surrey, Langley, White Rock and Delta), 17% in Fraser North (Burnaby to Maple Ridge) and 39% in Vancouver. Each of these heavily populated regions has experienced at least three consecutive weeks of increased COVID-19 cases.
There are also worrying signs on Vancouver Island, which has largely – but 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 week before. Despite this increase, the region still has one of the lowest per capita case rates in the province.
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Fraser South continues to see the most new cases, with just over 1,000 confirmed cases of the virus in the past week.
The region’s per capita diagnosis rate topped 100 cases per 100,000 population last week. It is now 135 cases per 100,000, which means that one in 1,000 people in the region was diagnosed with COVID-19 last week.
Vancouver, Fraser North and Fraser East all recorded between 60 and 66 new cases per 100,000 population last week.
In the Lower Mainland, Richmond and North Vancouver continue to see the fewest cases of the virus, with per capita case rates of around 20 per 100,000 population.
The number of new cases in the South Fraser has risen sharply since the start of October, while the troublesome trio of North Fraser, East Fraser and Vancouver have lasted for about three weeks. These three heavily populated regions have also seen a significant increase in the number of new cases over the past month.
The good news lies in the interior of British Columbia, where the number of new cases has declined in the Kootenays, northwestern and northeastern British Columbia, while leveling off in the ‘Okanagan. The Okanagan had seen new cases double the week before.
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