An update from the B.C. Centre for Disease Controls provides a clear picture of not only where COVID-19 is most prevalent, but in which settings it is being spread.
The update, published Nov. 12, shows Surrey has more cases than any other city in the province, with at least 3,993. Surrey is also home to more than 27 per cent of B.C.’s confirmed cases. Extending north to 40 Avenue, South Surrey-White Rock is in a different health boundary than the rest of Surrey, and reported 298 cases.
However, the numbers are expected to climb.
The BCCDC updates its city-by-city health region figures once per month. The number of cases in the Surrey health boundary, which is within Fraser Health, was last updated Oct. 31, when there were only 14,381 cases in the province. Since then, the province has added another 8,532 new cases, bringing the provincial total to 22,944.
Data from Sept. 13 to Oct. 28 shows the group most significantly affected by the virus continues to be people in their 20s, followed by people in their 30s, 40s, and 50s, respectively.
Of the known and reported locations where transmission is most prevalent, households rank at the top, followed by workplaces.
However, the exception is people older than 80, who are most likely to get infected through healthcare contacts.
In a news briefing Monday, Henry said a majority of cases are linked to indoor social gatherings, and times when people gather before and after “safe events” such as watching a game, or picking up children from school, or going to a restaurant.
“The number of cases and outbreaks is showing us, we are in the most challenging of times,” Henry said. “We have come through a wave, we’re now in the midst of our second.”
In the update, the BCCDC provided an illustration of how the virus can be spread through a chain of transmission in Fraser Health.
Working on actual case data, but withholding names of people, businesses and locations, the BCCDC explained that one infected guest at a 50-person wedding in August resulted in 15 guests testing positive for COVID-19. The virus then spread to a long-term care home, requiring 81 residents to self-isolate in their room. One person ended up dying from the virus.
At an industrial site, one employee who was positive for the disease transmitted the virus to 48 colleagues last month. A further seven people tested positive after interacting with one of the 48 employees, which put a car dealership, medical clinic, lumber mill and processing plant at risk.
Of the initial 48 people who were initially infected, 46 households were affected resulting in 111 additional people being required to self-isolate.
In response to a question about the rate of virus transmission in the South Asian community, Henry said the province has seen “quite a lot” of transmission in that community, particularly in Fraser Health.
“But we know, that’s where a lot of people of South Asian descent live. We have a large and vibrant active community there,” Henry said, adding that many people in the South Asian community are essential workers. “What we are seeing is that there are many families affected in the South Asian community, and many people live in large multigenerational families. Like other, similar communities, when one person is infected it can spread very quickly to many others in that family.”
Earlier this month, the province introduced new, tighter restrictions for residents in Surrey and White Rock. The new public health order prohibits people from gathering with people outside of their immediate household, whether that’s at indoor or outdoor gatherings.
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