More than 100 COVID-19 cases were detected in Abbotsford in August, pushing the total number of residents to have contracted the virus to 561 since the pandemic began.
In Chilliwack, though, only four residents were diagnosed with the virus last month. Between January and August, 38 cases were detected in Chilliwack.
(It should be noted that the figures aren’t for September, and miss all those cases that may circulate undetected in a community. Health officials have warned that residents should not let their guard down because of a lack of diagnosed cases.)
The city-level figures suggest that regional numbers released each week might obscure just how prevalent COVID-19 is in Abbotsford.
Before last month, the BC CDC had balked at releasing city-level data. The only information suggested the Fraser East area – which includes Mission, Abbotsford, Chilliwack and Hope – had been relatively hard hit in July, with cases moderating in August.
But the city-level data released in late August and updated again last week showed the vast majority of those cases were in Abbotsford, with the case rate in the city as much as 10 times that of Chilliwack’s. So while Chilliwack’s numbers were much better than the Fraser East as a whole, Abbotsford’s were significantly worse.
Abbotsford has had one COVID-19 case diagnosed for every 267 residents since the pandemic began. In August alone, one of every 1,300 residents was diagnosed with COVID-19
Chilliwack, on the other hand, has had roughly one detected COVID-19 case for every 2,500 residents since January. In August, it had one COVID-19 case for every 24,000 residents.
Since August, the number of COVID-19 cases in Metro Vancouver has increased precipitously, while those outside of Greater Vancouver haven’t increased much.
Although Abbotsford isn’t in Metro Vancouver – it’s in the Fraser Valley Regional District – the city-by-city numbers suggest its experience is much more like its neighbours to the west than those to the east.
Whereas four COVID-19 cases were detected in Chilliwack in August, Langley saw 81 new confirmed cases.
Between Aug. 28 and Sept. 24, 113 new cases of COVID-19 were detected in Fraser East. (Langley is in another region.) But because city-by-city figures aren’t scheduled to be released until late October, we won’t know until then if the bulk of those have remained in Abbotsford.
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