While the Lower Mainland ticks off week one of a lockdown on social activities, the North Shore-Coast Garibaldi health area marked a grim milestone of its own this week – over 1,000 cases of COVID-19 since the beginning of the pandemic. And over half of those are in North Vancouver.
On Thursday, the B.C. Centre for Disease Control released statistics indicating the local health area has now logged 1,017 cases of coronavirus.
The B.C. Centre for Disease Control also released a new set of information about coronavirus cases in local communities.
That showed the number of COVID-19 cases in the North Shore-Coast Garibaldi health region increased by 263 cases in the month of October – a 39 per cent increase.
Of those, most of the new cases – 229 of them – were in North and West Vancouver. Cases on the North Shore had climbed to 760 by the end of last month – up 43 per cent from the 531 cases reported by the end of September.
Statistics showed North Vancouver has continued to have the most cases in the region – 554 by the end of October. There had been 206 cases reported in West Vancouver during the same time frame.
When measured per capita, however, West Vancouver's COVID-19 statistics are worse - coming in at approximately 468 cumulative cases per 100,000 compared to North Vancouver, which comes in at about 377 cases per 100,000. Both are still dramatically better than the hotspot of Surrey, where there were approximately 798 COVID-19 cases per 100,000 by the end of October.
Within the local health region, the Sea to Sky area including Whistler and Squamish reported 107 cases of the virus by the end of October – a 40 per cent increase since the end of September. Powell River had reported 39 cases and Sunshine Coast had reported 29, figures that were virtually unchanged since September.
COVID-19 cases in B.C. as a whole tipped over 20,000 on Thursday. Most of those have been in the Fraser Health Region, which had clocked 12,390 of the cases and had a positive test rate of 8.3 per cent in the past week. The positivity test rate in Vancouver Coastal Health was 4.1 per cent where a total of 6,107 cases have been logged.
According to the B.C. Centre for Disease Control, Surrey had reported 3,993 cases by the end of October and that number has continued to skyrocket in the past two weeks.
Henry said Thursday the recent spike in numbers in B.C. is similar to what’s been seen in other countries around the world as they have entered the second wave of their pandemics.
“If nothing else, this reminds us that humility is important in dealing with this, we're learning new things about this virus all the time. We know some things that absolutely do work, but you know the fact that it is rapidly taking off at this time of year in the northern hemisphere around the world,” she said.
The recent increases in the Lower Mainland have been traced back to family gatherings, indoor social activities and indoor sports and group fitness activities.
Henry said that’s a signal that “we have to step back.”
Henry added so far she doesn’t yet know if the restrictions imposed on the Lower Mainland will continue beyond Nov. 23, be stepped up, loosened or changed in some way.
That will depend on the case numbers and what the data indicates about how the virus is being transmitted, she said.