Fraser Health continues to be epicentre of B.C. COVID-19 cases

The province’s most populous health region has had about three-quarters of the new cases in the past week

The Fraser Health region continues to be the hot spot in the province for COVID-19 infections, according to data health officials released October 29.

Of the 234 new infections identified in the past 24 hours, 74% have been in the Fraser Health region – a district that includes much of the eastern and southern Lower Mainland, including Burnaby, Coquitlam, Surrey, Delta, Abbotsford and Chilliwack. With 10,127 tests conducted in the past day, the positive-test rate is about 2.3%.

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The district that has about 1.8 million residents has long incurred the most infections, in part because of outbreaks at poultry or produce plants.

In the week that ended yesterday, the Fraser Health region had nearly three quarters (1,346) of the 1,818 newly identified infections across B.C.

B.C.’s provincial health officer Bonnie Henry on October 29 stood at a news conference in Surrey with Fraser Health CEO Victoria Lee and Health Minister Adrian Dix to address the continuing crisis in the Fraser Health region.

“We are here because in recent weeks, COVID-19 has disproportionately been affecting communities in the Fraser Valley,” Henry said. "I'm here to show my support for the many, many people in Fraser Health, who are working so hard to slow this pandemic down."

She later hinted that it is possible that future public health orders could be targetted at a specific health region, if that region has a significantly higher rate of new infections than other regions. 

Lee urged people in her region to reflect on whether they need to take part in any interactions outside the home.

"At this crucial time, we're asking people who reside in the Fraser health region to take a pause, and reconsider our social interactions outside of our household," she said. "This is in addition to the public health order that Dr. Henry shared earlier this week."

Henry's order, announced on Monday, was that households can have a maximum of six people, in addition to household members, in a home at any one time. She stressed that the six people should be a "safe six," meaning people who household members have had regular contact with. Household gatherings should not include different sets of six extra people, she said. 

There have now been 14,109 infections B.C.-wide since the virus that spawned a global pandemic was first identified in the province in late January.

Here is the breakdown of those cases by health region, with new cases in brackets:
* 4,588 in Vancouver Coastal Health (43);
* 8,036 in Fraser Health (173);
* 256 in Island Health (three);
* 734 in Interior Health (seven);
* 406 in Northern Health (seven); and
* 89 people who reside outside Canada (one).

Of those, 2,344 people are actively fighting the disease, while 11,448 have recovered and 262 have died. There are also 55 people who are left unaccounted for, with health officials telling BIV that the most likely explanation is that they left the province without alerting health officials.

The vast majority of those battling infections are self-isolating at home, although 86 are in hospital, with 24 of those in intensive care units. Health officials are also monitoring 5,714 people because they have been in contact with others who are known to be infected.

There was one new death from the virus reported in the past day – a woman in her 80s who lived in the Fraser Health region and went to a birthday party that had less than 10 people. 

"Unfortunately, somebody unknowingly brought COVID-19, and even though it was a small party in one person's home, the majority of people who were in that home became infected," Henry said. 

Fraser Health declared that the outbreak at Good Samaritan Victoria Heights, an assisted living facility in New Westminster, is now over. 

One hospital in Fraser Health, Surrey Memorial Hospital, has had an outbreak for weeks.

New outbreaks at seniors' care homes and living facilities have been detected at:
• Gateway Assisted Living for Seniors in Surrey;
• Mayfair Terrace Retirement Residence in Port Coquitlam;
• Louis Breyer Home and Hospital in Vancouver; and
• Revera Lakeview long-term care home in Vancouver.

The 19 other seniors' long-term care and assisted living facilities in B.C. that have active outbreaks, include:
• Evergreen Baptist Care Society in White Rock;
• Queens Park Care Centre in New Westminster;
• Sunset Manor in Chilliwack;
• Three Links Care Centre in Vancouver;
• Royal Arch Masonic Home in Vancouver;
• Haro Park Centre long-term care facility in Vancouver;
• Banfield Pavilion 4 West in Vancouver;
• Peace Portal Seniors Village in Surrey;
• Rosemary Heights Seniors Village in Surrey;
• Zion Park Manor in Surrey;
• Laurel Place in Surrey;
• Amenida Seniors Community in Surrey;
• The Village in Langley;
• Fort Langley Seniors Community in Fort Langley;
• Baillie House in Maple Ridge;
• Fellburn Care Centre long-term care facility in Burnaby;
• St. Michael's Centre long-term care facilityin Burnaby;
• Fair Haven Homes Burnaby Lodge in Burnaby; and
• Agassiz Seniors Community in Agassiz.

gkorstrom@biv.com

@GlenKorstrom
 

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