COVID-19 cases across the Tri-Cities hit another record high last week, surging over 17% and pushing the region into the highest average daily rate assigned by the BC Centre for Disease Control.
Between March 28 and April 3, the three cities recorded 381 new cases, up from 325 cases the previous week.
The new data comes as cases surge across Metro Vancouver: the North Shore, Vancouver, Burnaby, Delta, Surrey and Maple Ridge all joined the Tri-Cities with average daily care rates of over 20 per 100,000 people.
Other corners of the province hit especially hard by COVID-19 last week include the Howe Sound local health area, the Peace River region, Revelstoke, Windermere, as well as a stretch of the North Coast from the Bella Coola Valley north past Prince Rupert.
On Thursday, British Columbia shattered its daily record of new cases, with 1,293 in the previous 24 hours. Most of those cases are split between Vancouver Coastal Health, where more than 35% of new cases were found, and Fraser Health, where over 46% of cases were reported.
As of April 8, health officials were closely monitoring a record 15,203 people for symptoms as a result of those individuals having had known contact with identified cases. That number is up by 601 people from the previous day’s record high.
Despite the high case count, the province’s vaccination campaign has greatly reduced outbreaks at long-term care homes: There are currently five B.C. seniors homes under outbreak protocols due to COVID-19, none of which are in the Tri-Cities.
In acute care, Eagle Ridge Hospital in Port Moody continues to battle a COVID-19 outbreak, and is one of nine hospitals across B.C. with active outbreaks.
Across the province, an estimated 20% of British Columbians eligible for a vaccine have had their shot. As of Thursday, nearly 500,000 people have registered online this week to get on the list for vaccinations as part of the B.C. government new “Get Vaccinated” online booking system.
Meanwhile, those 65 and older, Indigenous people over age 18, and those who are deemed “clinically extremely vulnerable" can book appointments to get vaccinated as part of the province’s age-based vaccination campaign.
But for many, the vaccinations aren’t coming fast enough.
Last week, the province deemed the AstraZeneca vaccine should only be administered to those between age 55 and 65 due to concerns over blood clots in veins serving the brain.
The scramble for vaccinations has now left many younger workers looking for an alternative. Some desperate teachers, including from the Coquitlam school district, recently sought out leftover vaccines at a clinic in Surrey, only to be turned away.
—With files from Glen Korstrom, Diane Strandberg and the Canadian Press