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There was another 20% fluctuation in local Tri-City COVID-19 cases — but in the opposite direction

The region recorded a triple-digit total for the third time in five weeks as symptoms for the virus appear to be changing.

It seems 20 is the number for the Tri-Cities when it comes to weekly recorded COVID-19 cases.

However, it trended downward this time and put the region back in three figures.

There were 104 lab-confirmed infections for the virus found across Coquitlam, Port Coquitlam, Port Moody, Anmore and Belcarra between May 1 and 7.

The BC Centre for Disease Control's (BCCDC) latest data available is calculated at a 20 per cent uptick over the first seven days of the month compared to 87 found in the previous report — April 24 to 30.

That was a 20 per cent decrease from 109 detected the week prior (April 17–23).

It's the third time in five weeks the Tri-Cities has tallied above 100 infections per the BCCDC's Geographic Distribution of COVID-19 by Local Health Area of Case Residence data.

In fact, the median seven-day average since the start of April is currently 101 cases.  

But that's also amid tighter testing restrictions implemented by B.C. public health officials as early as December in an effort to allow those with serious symptoms, and those who are more vulnerable to the virus to be treated as soon as possible.

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry has advised, on many occasions, those who are vaccinated and have mild symptoms to not get tested and to simply self-isolate.

The Tri-Cities was one of four regions in all of B.C. in triple figures for the latest count of COVID-19 local cases.

The 104 was the third highest in the province — second in Fraser Health — alongside Surrey (212), Victoria (118) and Central Okanagan (102).

Symptoms changing?

And while fewer people are visiting clinics to get tested for COVID-19, it seems many are utilizing the HealthLink BC phone line for guidance on whether or not they have symptoms of the virus.  

The number of COVID-19 patients in B.C. hospitals has risen by 46 in the past week, to 596 on Thursday (May 12), which is the highest count since February 25, when there were 599 such patients. 

But most people who test positive for the virus will not end up in the hospital — and some may even present decidedly mild symptoms.

Dr. Brian Conway, medical director at the Vancouver Infectious Diseases Centre and assistant professor in the Department of Pharmacology and Therapeutics at the UBC, told Glacier Media people should continue to look out for respiratory COVID-19 symptoms. 

"It remains a respiratory illness: cough, shortness of breath...and viral components to it, headaches, muscle aches, things like that. That remains there," he explained. 

The doctor noted, however, that vaccinated people may have "quite mild" symptoms, such as a scratchy throat, mild cough and sneezing. 

"I would recommend to someone who is nauseated to go get a COVID test," he said, noting that many people who test positive feel well aside from an upset stomach. 

But Conway can't say for certain whether the symptoms of Omicron are different or if they appear different because such a high percentage of the population is vaccinated. Moreover, there are multiple variants of the Omicron strain circulating throughout the population. 

Vaccination update

In the Tri-Cities, the double-vaccination average against COVID-19 finally reached 90 per cent after several weeks at an 89 per cent stand-still.

This includes the added data for kids aged five to 11 since the group become eligible to receive a second shot of vaccine.

The region's first-dose average remains unchanged at 92 per cent, and is the fifth in Fraser Health to reach that plateau after Burnaby, New Westminster, Delta and Surrey.

As well, 75 per cent of eligible residents aged 50 years and older in the Tri-Cities have received a booster dose against the virus. The third vaccine started rolling out to B.C.'s general public back in January.

In an effort to meet what demand is left for a COVID-19 vaccine, Fraser Health still has its mass clinic set up in Coquitlam.

The immunization and testing centre is located at the Coquitlam Central SkyTrain Station (2900 Barnet Hwy.) in the park-and-ride overflow lot under the following operating hours:

  • 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
    • 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

Anyone seeking a vaccine against COVID-19 is encouraged to register via B.C.'s GetVaccinated online portal or call 1-833-838-2323.

You can also visit the province's website for more information on its COVID-19 immunization plan.

A multi-vaccination clinic is also in place at the Poirier Admin Building (640 Poirier St.), giving parents and guardians with kids as young as four months old the chance to receive a number of different vaccinations.

This includes:

  • COVID-19 vaccine
    • For eligible children and adolescents aged five and older
  • Tdap-IPV vaccine
    • Protects against tetanus diphtheria, whooping cough and polio
  • MMRV vaccine
    • Protects against measles, mumps, rubella and chickenpox

- with files from Elana Shepert, Vancouver Is Awesome