Official numbers of new COVID-19 infections on the North Shore are dropping sharply.
There were 18 new COVID cases on the North Shore measured by official PCR tests between June 12 and 18 – down from 44 cases between June 5 and June 11 and 57 cases measured the week before, according to B.C.'s Centre for Disease Control.
Of the cases reported in the last week, nine cases were in North Vancouver and nine were in West Vancouver.
Although the PCR testing that results in those official case counts is done for only a small number of the most vulnerable people, it is considered an indicator of more general trends.
Hospitalizations fall in VCH
COVID hospitalizations in Vancouver Coastal Health – which also includes hospitals in Vancouver, Richmond, the Sunshine Coast and Sea to Sky Corridor – rose slightly this week, according to BCCDC. There were 75 people with COVID in hospital as of June 23, compared to 67 people the week before and 82 people two weeks ago.
Five of those people were in critical care – similar to the six people in ICU with COVID the previous week.
There were also two new COVID-19-related deaths in the past week in VCH. The majority of deaths continue to be in people over 80, according to the BCCDC, although there have also been a smaller number of COVID-19 deaths among those between 60 and 79. The biggest group of people in hospital with COVID-19 are those over 60 years old.
Wastewater concentrations falling
The most recent reporting of wastewater data showing COVID-19 concentrations at the Lions Gate sewage treatment plant shows levels of the virus there are also decreasing.
“Viral loads at Lions Gate plant (North Shore) have decreased by 67 per cent over the past five weeks,” according to the BCCDC.
Viral loads detected at Vancouver Coastal Health wastewater treatment plants are decreasing, while there have been small increases at Fraser Health Authority wastewater treatment plants, according to the BCCDC.
The most recent samples at the North Shore sewage plant included concentrations of 28,997 viral parts per litre on June 13, 38,978 viral parts per litre on June 11 and 12,013 parts per litre on June 8.
That compares to an approximate range of between 39,000 and 43,000 parts per litre the previous week.
Although wastewater concentrations don't measure the number of people infected with COVID-19 directly, they are considered one of the more accurate barometers of overall infection levels in communities, as they pick up viral signals from people who have tested positive on rapid tests at home but who are not part of official case counts.
Vax rates stalled
Vaccination rates among both adults and children on the North Shore haven’t budged for months.
Between 92 and 96 per cent of adults on the North Shore have had two doses of vaccine, and between 68 and 72 per cent have received a booster shot.
Vaccination rates for children stalled much lower. Between 58 and 69 per cent of children five to 11 on the North Shore have received two doses of COVID vaccine.
The ICBC site vaccine clinic remains open for children ages five to 11, while adults are now being directed to local pharmacies for their shots.
1 in 5 on North Shore say they've had COVID
According to a recent poll by the North Shore News, one in five people on the North Shore say they’ve had COVID-19. And an additional one in 10 say they probably had it, but they don’t know for sure as no testing was available when they were sick.