The Tri-Cities recorded 894 new cases of COVID-19 in February, the highest total since the start of the pandemic.
Confirming where the virus is spreading is less certain.
We do know the month started out with what would become a super-spreader event at a pub trivia night in Port Moody, eventually leading to the isolation of nearly 300 people.
Not long after, several members of a minor hockey club would test positive for the virus putting their season on hold.
Multiple workers at big Coquitlam grocery chains like Real Canadian Superstore and T&T Supermarket continued to test positive for the virus throughout the month, prompting exposure notifications to the public.
And in Port Coquitlam, Fraser Health maintains an active public exposure notification for a nail salon after contact tracers were unable to track down everyone who was potentially exposed over a nine-day period.
The month did not spare the Tri-Cities’ health care sector. Eagle Ridge Hospital declared a COVID-19 outbreak and shut down a medical unit after 10 patients tested positive, and Shaughnessy Care Centre in Port Coquitlam declared its third outbreak despite a province-wide campaign to vaccinate those living and working in long-term care homes.
Health officials have repeatedly warned that transmission rates in the community find their way into schools. Sure enough, school exposures spiked in February by more than 370%, leading to over 100 exposures and counting.
More worrying, the arrival of several ‘variants of concern’ to B.C. wound their way into at least two Coquitlam area schools, one of which elected to shut its doors for three weeks after the virus infected several people.
Altogether, last month’s 894 cases represent more than 25% of all cases in the three cities since July, an overall tally that rose to 3,564 by the end of February.
Those numbers show no sign of abating. On Thursday, the BC Centre for Disease Control reported new weekly COVID-19 numbers in the three cities ticked up again, rising 7% to 241 new cases in the first week of March.
At that rate, by the end of the month, March’s new case count would surpass the February record total.