A record was broken for a second consecutive week and it continues to create a sombre cloud over the Tri-Cities amid a global pandemic.
The region currently has second-highest weekly COVID-19 local-case count in all of B.C. after posting 2,055 infections linked to the virus during the final week of 2021 — the majority of which are related to the highly transmissible Omicron variant.
The data was collected between Dec. 26, 2021, and Jan. 1, 2022, by the BC Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC), and is presented through the organization's latest Geographic Distribution of COVID-19 by Local Health Area of Case Residence report.
This breaks the previous record of 796 cases detected in a single week (Dec. 19–25) across Coquitlam, Port Coquitlam, Port Moody, Anmore and Belcarra, marking an increase of 158 per cent.
The Tri-Cities is also one of two regions in the whole province to record more than 2,000 local-health cases in the last week.
Surrey is the "hotspot" after officials found 2,619 between Boxing Day and New Year's Day. Burnaby, at 1,632, is the other B.C. area of case residence in four figures.
The province's most recent official count for Omicron cases was 3,878 on Dec. 31.
Between Wednesday (Jan. 5) and Thursday (Jan. 6), there were 3,223 new infections diagnosed, raising the number of people actively fighting infections in B.C. to a record 31,817. Of those, 324 are in hospital, 90 of which are in intensive care units (ICUs).
As of this publication, the BCCDC is reporting a 72.2 per cent triple-vaccination rate among eligible residents aged 70 years and older in the Tri-Cities. Booster doses are now available for anyone who's at or has surpassed the six-month mark since their second shot, per B.C., public health officials.
Dr. Penny Ballem, executive lead for B.C.'s COVID-19 Immunization Efforts, changed the system on New Year's Eve (Dec. 31) to an interval system instead of aged-based in response to the spread of Omicron.
There's currently a 91.2 per cent double-vaccination rate among those aged 12 and up in the Tri-Cities, as well as a 93 per cent single-dose rate.
Five- to 11-year-olds in the Tri-Cities are averaging a near 44 per cent first-dose rate — the second highest in Fraser Health.
There are two COVID-19 outbreaks across the Tri-Cities.
Fraser Health declared an outbreak at Eagle Ridge Hospital in Port Moody (475 Guildford Way) on Wednesday (Jan. 5) after four patients tested positive for the virus in the acute care for elders unit.
No staff have been detected for COVID-19, as of this publication (Jan. 7).
The emergency department remains open, Fraser Health adds, as no other areas of the hospital has been impacted and safety precautions have since been implemented to prevent further potential spread of the virus.
This is the fourth known outbreak at Eagle Ridge Hospital since the pandemic began.
Six people have died due to complications with the virus in that span — all occurring during the first outbreak — and a total of 51 infections.
Meanwhile, an additional case of COVID-19 has been found at Hawthorne Lodge in Port Coquitlam (2111 Hawthorne Ave.).
This brings the total to five infections among one resident and four staff members since the alert was put in place last Friday, all of whom are now self-isolating in their own homes.
"Fraser Health is also working with the site to identify anyone who may have been exposed, and is taking steps to protect the health of all staff, residents and families," a news release reads.
It's the third known outbreak since the pandemic began at Hawthorne Lodge, which is owned and operated by the Port Coquitlam Senior Citizens' Housing Society.
Four residents have died due to complications with the virus, two during each of the previous declarations, along with 44 total infections.
The Coquitlam COVID-19 immunization and testing centre remains open and is in normal operational procedure.
It's likely to get a little bit busier with B.C., opening its booster dose program to more eligible residents who've waited six months for a third dose of vaccine against the virus.
There are currently no pop-up locations scheduled across the Tri-Cities.
First- and second-dose bookings are still open to eligible residents of all ages, including inaugural jabs for kids aged five to 11, for the mass clinic — located at the Coquitlam Central SkyTrain Station Park and Ride overflow lot.
More information is available on Fraser Health's website.
It's operating hours and entry instructions are as follows:
- 2900 Barnet Hwy.
- 9:45 a.m. to 8 p.m. = Monday to Friday
- 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. = Saturdays and Sundays
- Entrance off Mariner Way – east side of Rona. Proceed down the ramp and turn right
- The address will direct you to the main lot on the left but COVID-19 Services are located in the overflow lot to the right
- Do not cut through the Rona parking lot. Please follow the signs
- with a file from Glen Korstrom, Business In Vancouver