The prevalence of COVID-19 cases per 100,000 residents has dropped significantly across the Tri-Cities’ health service delivery area over the past two weeks, according to surveillance data from the BC Centre for Disease Control.
For several months, the Fraser North health service delivery area registered well over 30 cases per 100,000 residents, the highest category in the BCCDC’s surveillance reports.
But in recent weeks, positive cases have dropped in the region, which includes Coquitlam, Port Coquitlam, Port Moody, Anmore and Belcarra, as well as Burnaby, New Westminster and Maple Ridge.
The 172 cases reported over the last two weeks represents roughly a 25% drop in cases compared to surveillance reports in early September. That means that between Sept. 18 and Oct. 1, Fraser North’s prevalence rates dropped to between 20 and 30 cases of COVID-19 per 100,000 residents.
While those numbers paint a positive trend for Fraser North, it’s not clear how the numbers break down from one municipality to another.
Doctors at the Tri-Cities’ only COVID-19 testing clinic recently announced they would close their facility after four months with little support from Fraser Health had left them “burnt out.”
That prompted the health authority to accelerate the opening of a high-capacity testing centre in Coquitlam, set to open Monday, Oct. 5.
With that testing yet to commence, how it will affect detected caseloads in the Tri-Cities won’t be clear for at least several weeks.
PERCENT POSITIVE TAKES PROMISING TURN
Even as testing has ramped up across the province to levels not seen since the start of the pandemic in B.C., the percentage of positive cases has dipped well below 2% in what Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry characterized on Oct. 1 as a “true levelling off of cases.”
By Friday, new case numbers hit 161, the second-highest one-day total since the pandemic began (almost all the cases were reported in the Lower Mainland.).
At the same time, the number of tests conducted within a 24-hour period hit an all-time high in the province Friday of 11,862, meaning that the positive-case percentage was 1.35%. That is up from Thursday’s 0.75% rate, but well below the 2% level that has recently been breached.
And while still early to draw long-term conclusions about the trajectory of the virus in the province, that’s good news in the short term.