While Omicron is still considered highly transmissible, it appears fewer Tri-City residents are becoming infected with the COVID-19 variant.
There was a 17 per cent decrease in local cases across Coquitlam, Port Coquitlam, Port Moody, Anmore and Belcarra, totalling 536 infections found between Jan. 16 and 22 from 643 during the week prior.
For context, that's also a 74 per cent drop compared to 2,055 cases detected between Boxing Day (Dec. 26) and New Year's Day (Jan. 1) — the highest single weekly count in the Tri-Cities since the pandemic began.
Cases may be dropping week to week, but B.C. provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry has underscored that it's crucial for residents adhere to public orders to continue to reduce the spread.
"We also need to take collective actions to reduce risk every day," she said during a news conference on Tuesday (Jan. 25).
"It's about thinking not only about our loved ones and ourselves, but those around us who we may or may not know are at higher risk, perhaps an older relative, a colleague that we work with or a close friend that we spend time with."
Dr. Henry also said contact tracing is no longer a viable tool in the fight against Omicron as it has a shorter incubation period than other coronavirus variants.
Additionally, the strain has a shorter "generation time," which is the time between one person getting infected or exposed and the next person getting sick and passing it on to others.
"Previously, with different strains, when that was five or six days before the next generation. We had time," she stated.
"We had time on our side and the opportunity to find people and to help them isolate before they would pass it on to others."
The Tri-Cities' newest number is the second highest in Fraser Health with Surrey recording the most once again at 1,449.
It's the third highest across B.C. with Central Okanagan detecting 962 and only four more cases than Prince George's vicinity (532).
The Tri-Cities also currently posts the third highest vaccination rate against COVID-19 in Fraser Health at 57 per cent among first doses in children aged five to 11, according to the BC Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC).
Its neighbouring communities of New Westminster and Burnaby have already respectively reached the 60 per cent first-dose plateau for kids.
Additionally, 44 per cent of eligible Tri-City residents aged 12 years and older have received a booster shot against the virus, which includes a 61 per cent average for the 50-and-up group, as well as 78 per cent for seniors above 70 years old.
RETIREMENT HOME OUTBREAK
There are currently 21 lab-confirmed cases of COVID-19 at Lakeshore Care Centre in Coquitlam.
The latest outbreak of the virus was initially declared on Jan. 19, which has reached 18 residents and three staff members at the long-term care facility.
Fraser Health tells the Tri-City News no deaths linked to the virus have been recorded as of this publication (Jan. 27).
"With this current phase of the pandemic, we have adjusted our approach to balance resident well-being with mitigating transmission," said authority spokesperson Dixon Tam.
"While measures such as restricting social visits in affected areas of the facility, enhancement of cleaning and infection control measures, and twice-a-day screening of all staff residents takes place when an outbreak is declared, we no longer routinely require asymptomatic residents on an affected unit to isolate in their rooms for weeks at a time."
Tri-City residents now have two places to go to in Coquitlam to receive an inoculation against COVID-19.
The Poirier Forum reopened as an immunization station on Tuesday (Jan. 25) for first, second and third doses.
Those eligible are asked to book an appointment in advance for any time between 10:45 a.m. and 5:05 p.m. seven days a week.
Meanwhile, the Coquitlam Central SkyTrain station's park and ride overflow lot continues to act as a vaccination clinic and testing centre.
Its operating hours 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
You can also visit the province's website for more information on its COVID-19 immunization plan.
- with a file from Elana Shepert, Vancouver Is Awesome