New cases of COVID-19 may be trending down in Fraser Health as a whole, but communities in Fraser East are plateauing.
From Jan. 15 to Jan. 21, Fraser East saw 394 new cases of COVID-19, nearly the same as the 386 cases it saw in the previous week. The entire Fraser Health region saw 1,486 new COVID-19 cases this week.
Fraser South, which includes Surrey, Langley and Delta, had been largely responsible for the massive increase in COVID-19 cases over the early winter months, making up more than 47 per cent of all provincial COVID-19 cases between Nov. 20 and Dec. 3. Now, that area has been trending down for five weeks, making Fraser East’s plateau much more noticeable in the Fraser Health numbers.
Currently, Fraser East has 26.5 per cent of the weekly new cases for Fraser Health, overtaking Fraser North, which has also seen a slight trend downwards.
The Fraser East health service delivery area includes communities such as Chilliwack, Hope, Mission, Agassiz and Abbotsford.
Abbotsford, which saw the second largest number of cases in Fraser Health in 2020, is now seeing a decline in its weekly case counts, going from a high of 395 in mid-December down to 207 from Jan. 10 to 16.
However, decreases in Abbotsford are partially offset by increases in much smaller communities, such as Hope, which had seen 18 new cases in one week, after only have 33 total cases in all of 2020.
After being essentially off the radar at the beginning of the pandemic, Fraser East had seen a major increase in cases since the summer. In mid-June, Fraser East had the greatest number of new cases in the entire province — 67 over two weeks when the rest of B.C. was averaging less than a handful.
In the fall, Fraser East started to see a sustained increase in its new COVID-19 cases, just as other areas in Fraser Health saw an explosion of cases.
As a whole, the provincial COVID-19 case counts are trending downwards, in large part due to the decrease of cases in Fraser South. Although Fraser Health still makes up the bulk of new cases in the province each day, there has been a significant increase in the number of cases from the Interior and Northern health regions since the beginning of November.