Vancouver – The British Columbia Center for Disease Control has released another set of maps that display detailed regional data on COVID-19 infections in the province.
While previous maps showing coronavirus cases by local health district were released monthly and showed the cumulative cases since the start of the epidemic, the BCCDC has started issuing local data on a weekly basis as well.
Provincial health official, Dr. Bonnie Henry, said in her briefing on Thursday that weekly releases of the data were possible due to the significant increase in cases in British Columbia during the second wave of the pandemic.
“With the number of cases increasing, we can provide more information at a more local level,” she said. “We are now at a point where you cannot re-identify someone according to the geographic region they live in due to the number of cases we have.”
The first weekly update map shows the COVID-19 infections recorded from Sunday 29 November to Saturday 5 December, with areas shaded by the number of registered cases per 100,000 residents, as well as numbers indicating the total number of cases in each region during the period. The full-size map can be viewed on the BCCDC website.
As has long been the case in the cumulative census, the region with the largest number of COVID-19 infections, in general, is the local health district that includes most of the city of Surrey.
The district recorded 1,588 cases during the week shown on the weekly map, and recorded a cumulative total of 10,479 as of November 30. The cumulative total represents a quarter of all COVID-19 infections recorded in British Columbia since the pandemic began.
Notably, the local health district in South Surrey / White Rock recorded significantly fewer cases, on a cumulative basis and in the last full week of data collection.
That region saw only 70 cases between November 29 and December 5, and recorded a total of 727 cases as of November 30.
South Surrey / White Rock performed better than the rest of Surrey on a per capita basis as well. Since the epidemic began, the area has recorded between 500 and 750 cases per 100,000 residents, compared to more than 1,000 infections per 100,000 in Sari.
The per capita gap has been large over the past week as well, with South Surrey / White Rock reporting between 5 and 10 cases per 100,000 residents each day, while the rest of Sari saw more than 20 cases per 100,000 people per day.
Other areas on the lower mainland that experienced more than 20 daily infections per 100,000 residents, on average, over the last week of the data, include the cities of Delta and Abbotsford, with 208 and 352 total cases recorded respectively.
It is worth noting that all these local health zones are located in the Fraser Health Zone. None of the local health districts that make up the Vancouver Coastal Health District saw many cases per capita on a daily basis between November 29 and December 5.
The largest number of cases per capita were recorded in Vancouver Coastal Health during that period in West Vancouver, with 60 cases recorded in total, equivalent to between 15 and 20 injuries per 100,000 residents each day.
Elsewhere in the county, several districts recorded more than 20 cases per 100,000 residents during the last week of available data.
In the Inland Health District, both the Central Okanagan District Health Districts and the Kettle Valley lie in the highest per capita category of cases, although they reported significantly different totals.
In central Okanagan, which includes the city of Kelowna, 314 infections were detected between November 29 and December 5. In Kettle Valley, which has a smaller population, only six cases have been recorded overall, but this still translates to over 20 per 100,000 residents.
Likewise, a sparsely populated area of Northern Health has seen large numbers of cases per person in the past week. A total of 28 injuries were recorded in the Nishaku region and 10 in the Nasqa district, but each of these injuries equates to more than 20 cases per 100,000 residents every day.
On Vancouver Island, no areas have seen more than 15 daily cases per 100,000.
According to the map of cumulative cases, there are still four local health districts in the province that have not recorded a single case of coronavirus as of November 30. Three of these areas – Stikine, Telegraph Creek, and Snow Country – are located in northwest British Columbia. The other is the North Thompson Health District in Internal Health.
Every other local health district in the county has seen at least one case of COVID-19 since January, and the BCCDC indicates that the virus that causes the disease can continue to spread undetected even in places where no positive tests have been recorded.
Henry herself confirmed this message Thursday, saying the county has seen an increase in transmission in many communities across the North in recent weeks.
“This virus does not understand who we are, where we live or the community to which we belong, and it is transmitted in all societies around British Columbia,” she said.
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