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Tri-Cities’ new weekly COVID-19 cases decline by two-thirds during month of May

Vaccinations appear to be working as the region reaches above 70% immunity, according to the BC Centre for Disease Control.
weekly burnaby
COVID-19 local health area case numbers for May 23-29, 2021.

Colours are turning a noticeably lighter shade on the BC Centre for Disease Control’s (BCCDC) latest map for weekly COVID-19 cases.

Today (June 3), the Geographic Distribution by Local Health Area of Case Residence shows 101 lab-confirmed infections for the virus were found in the Tri-Cities’ vicinity between May 23 and 29, which was the fourth highest in Fraser Health behind Surrey, Abbotsford and Burnaby.

This represents a 64% decrease in cases compared to about a month ago when 277 were detected between April 25 and May 1.

A week after that data was released, Tri-City positive tests were cut by 110 to 167, which was the largest decrease in weekly cases from last month and has steadily declined since.

  • 101 = May 23 to 29
  • 144 = May 16 to 22
  • 153 = May 9 to 15
  • 167 = May 2 to 8
  • 277 = April 25 to May 1

The biggest factor in the COVID-19 curve bending downward in the region is the vaccination ramp-up that’s taken place across Fraser Health.

As of yesterday (June 2), Tri-City sub-regions broken down by the BCCDC’s surveillance data have reached at least a 70% immunization rate, including Coquitlam, Port Coquitlam, Port Moody, Anmore and Belcarra.

Together, they averaged a 71.5% vaccination rate among eligible residents aged 12 years and older.

The region’s week-to-week case rate has also decreased to an average of 5.2 between May 25 and 31 compared to eight in the week prior, still currently the third lowest in Fraser Health behind South Surrey/White Rock (1) and Agassiz/Harrison (0).

The success in fighting the COVID-19 pandemic, however, does not mean that the entire province plans to accelerate its plan to reopen the B.C. economy, or allow travel across the province. 

Travel restrictions across the province are to be in place until June 15 at the earliest, Health Minister Adrian Dix said in a media scrum.

"With B.C.'s Restart plan progressing, this is a time of transition for all of us," he and provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said in a joint statement. 

"We are slowly and cautiously moving forward through Step 1, and in the weeks ahead, activities that have been on hold will resume once again."

While the number of new COVID-19 cases rose by 10, compared with Tuesday (June 1), to 194, that number is far below the average number of daily infections as recently as a week ago. 

The province provided 6,862 COVID-19 tests up until the release of Wednesday’s stats, making the positive-test rate 2.8% – far lower than the 7% to 9% rate that has been the norm in recent weeks.

The number of active infections across the province fell for the 28th consecutive time to 2,662 – the lowest total since October.

As of this publication (June 3), Fraser Health has recorded 84,315 lab-confirmed COVID-19 infections.

There have been 898 virus-linked deaths in the regional authority since the start of the pandemic.

Currently, there are 1,357 active cases, 34 people admitted into critical care among 122 hospitalizations and 82,010 recoveries.

- with files from Glen Kordstrom, Business In Vancouver