Local COVID-19 cases for the Tri-Cities have dropped once again.
The number, 643, indicates that while Omicron is still considered highly transmissible by public health officials, the variant may have peaked in the region and in other places across B.C.
On Jan. 11, provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry suggested — in a notably optimistic tone — Omicron could soon start levelling off.
"We may be entering soon into the place where we will see a decline, and right now, our primary focus needs to be on keeping as much as possible open in our communities, and ensuring that we have that balance that our health-care system is not getting overwhelmed — as stretched as it is," she said during an earlier news conference.
"I want to encourage people this wave is moving quickly. And it means you need to do everything to protect yourself right now. And we know that this wave will move through quickly as well."
COVID-19 infections dropped by 65 per cent the week of Jan. 9 to 15, 2022, from 1,843 in the previous count (Jan. 2–8).
The data is collected and published by the BC Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC), accounting for the latest Geographic Distribution of COVID-19 by Local Health Area of Case Residence.
If Omicron has peaked, that means the 2,055 cases detected between Boxing Day (Dec. 26) and New Year's Day (Jan. 1) was the top of the mountain for Coquitlam, Port Coquitlam, Port Moody, Anmore and Belcarra.
That was the most found in a single week since the pandemic began.
The Tri-Cities recorded the fourth-highest local health cases in all of B.C.
Surrey (1,972), Victoria (885) and neighbouring Burnaby (680) rounded out the top three.
When it comes to testing, Fraser Health spokesperson Curtis Harling told the Tri-City News not everyone needs to be if they don't have symptoms.
"You do not need to get a test if you are fully vaccinated, have mild symptoms and are able to self-isolate," he explained in a statement.
"If you are feeling unwell, assume you have COVID-19 and stay away from others until you feel better. If you have severe symptoms, seek medical help right away. It is important to follow public health advice to ensure tests are available for those who need them most.
"This will allow health care workers to prioritize care."
As of this publication (Jan. 20), 33 per cent of eligible residents aged 12 years and older in the Tri-Cities have received a third dose of vaccine against COVID-19.
Broken down by the BCCDC, this includes 76 per cent among those above 70 years old and 54 per cent for 50 and up.
Meanwhile, 54 per cent of Tri-City kids ages of five and 11 have been vaccinated with their first dose against COVID-19.
There's also a 91 per cent double-vaccination rate among those aged 12 and up, as well as a 93 per cent single-dose rate.
An alert has been declared for Lakeshore Care Centre (657 Gatensbury St.), a little over a year after enduring the deadliest outbreak of COVID-19 in all of the Tri-Cities.
There are 15 lab-confirmed infections — 12 residents and three staff — as of Wednesday evening (Jan. 19) at the Coquitlam long-term care facility and everyone is now self-isolating in their own homes.
Between Dec. 4, 2020, and Jan. 8, 2021, 21 residents died due to complications with the virus, which accounted for 38 per cent of the 56 beds inside.
A total of 75 cases were recorded in that time span, including 43 residents and 32 staff.
Residents looking to take advantage of getting a vaccine against COVID-19 in Port Coquitlam have until Saturday (Jan. 22) to do so.
The Port Coquitlam Community Centre (PCCC) is completing its interim service for Fraser Health as an immunization clinic amid the Omicron variant.
Eligible residents of all ages have until Saturday (Jan. 22) to book an appointment to receive a dose against the virus at the recreation facility (2150 Wilson Ave.) — open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day.
The Poirier Forum in Coquitlam will then open a larger vaccination clinic on Tuesday (Jan. 25).
You can visit the province's website for more information on its COVID-19 immunization plan.
Meanwhile, the immunization clinic and testing centre at Coquitlam Central SkyTrain station's park and ride overflow lot also remains open.
The operating hours and entry instructions 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
- with files from Diane Strandberg, Tri-City News, and Colin Dacre, Castanet