Fraser East is once again among the top areas in the province for its rate of COVID-19 cases, as the region continues to see more new cases each week.
From Feb. 26 to March 4, Fraser East saw 367 new cases of COVID-19 in the communities of Agassiz, Harrison, Hope, Chilliwack, Abbotsford and Mission. This is up from the 325 cases the week before.
Fraser East has been seeing a sustained increase in new cases since the beginning of the month, despite the ups and down for the Friday to Thursday data from the BCCDC.
Since the end of February, cases have continued to go up. The rolling average for March 4 is now just over 52 new cases a day, up from the average of 40 at the beginning of the month.
Fraser East isn’t the only region in Fraser Health that is seeing increases in new COVID-19 cases. Fraser South, which had been seeing a gradual increase since January, has now sharply accelerated in its growth of new cases, reaching 1,100 this past week.
Fraser Health said it is working with the Surrey school district to manage exposures to variants of concern, as well as other schools that are exposed to the variants. The new variants are more easily transmissible than the original COVID-19 virus, but they are still able to be dealt with by vaccines, mask wearing and proper social distancing.
Fraser North, which had been significant increases in the growth of its new COVID-19 cases, has seen far fewer in the past week, only 582 new cases compared to more than 700 the week before.
Data for the week of Feb. 19 to 25 had reporting errors that led to the COVID-19 case counts being under-represented for that week. The BCCDC has since updated their numbers, showing that Fraser East saw 325 new cases, rather than 319. Fraser North had 758 new cases, rather than 719, and Fraser South had 890 new cases instead of 802.
The daily rate of new COVID-19 cases that week with the original data showed all three communities in close proximity to each other, with Fraser East at 15.4 new cases per 100,000 people, Fraser North at 16.1 new cases per 100,000 people and Fraser South at 14.6 new cases per 100,000 people.
The revised data shows that Fraser East had 15.7 new cases per 100,000 people, Fraser North had 16.9 new cases and Fraser South had 16.2 new cases.
This week, Fraser East and Fraser South have increased their daily rate significantly. Fraser East is seeing 17.7 new cases each day per 100,000 people and Fraser South is seeing 20 cases per 100,000 people.
This increase has made the Fraser East health service delivery area the third highest in the province for new cases. The highest rate of new cases goes to the Northwest health service delivery area, which is seeing 38.5 new cases each day for every 100,000 people. Fraser South is the second highest, followed by Fraser East.
The next closest health service delivery area for daily rates is Vancouver, with 13.7 new cases for every 100,000 people and Fraser North, with 13 new cases for every 100,000.
Although the Northwest has been seeing the highest rate of cases for several weeks, other regions across the province have seen decreases since mid-February. Significantly, the Thompson Cariboo Shuswap region is down from 17.2 cases per 100,000 people by Feb. 11 to only 7.7 cases per 100,000.
The province as a whole has been seeing increases in the daily COVID-19 case numbers, as an increasing number of positive tests in Fraser Health and Vancouver Coastal Health drive provincial numbers.