The number of newly diagnosed cases of COVID-19 rose significantly across the province last week. (Map: Tyler Olsen)

MAP/CHARTS: One of every 420 Fraser Valley residents has tested positive for COVID-19 the last month

New COVID-19 case numbers have risen across B.C.

One of every 420 Fraser Valley residents has been diagnosed with COVID-19 over the last month. And the rate is even worse in the Surrey area.

In the Fraser South region, one of every 178 people has been diagnosed with the virus in recent weeks. That area, which includes Surrey and its neighbours to the south, east and west – White Rock, Langley and Delta – has seen a staggering increase in COVID-19 cases over the last four weeks, with 4,400 new positive cases since Oct. 16.

The region has about 780,000 people and reported 1,794 cases in just the past seven days, meaning one of every 450 people tested positive just last week.

Other parts of the Lower Mainland have also seen a huge number of cases in recent weeks.

In the Fraser East health region – which encompasses the Fraser Valley communities of Abbotsford, Mission, Chilliwack, Hope and Agassiz – one of every 420 people has been diagnosed with COVID-19 over the last four weeks. (The region has had 704 cases, and has a population just shy of 300,000.)

In Fraser North – which includes Burnaby, New Westminster, the Tri-Cities, and Maple Ridge – one of every 429 people has tested positive for the virus. (The area has had 1,490 cases over the last four weeks, with a population of about 639,000.)

Numbers are only slightly better in Vancouver, where one of every 576 residents has been diagnosed with COVID-19 (1,126 cases, 649,000 people.)

In the Lower Mainland, the North Shore and Richmond have had about one case for every 1,300 people in the last four weeks.

The numbers might seem shocking, but they can get much worse if the spread of the virus continues unchecked.

In North Dakota, in the United States, one of every 83 people has tested positive for the virus in just the last week. In some areas of Wisconsin, one of every eight people has contracted COVID-19 since the pandemic started.

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If the current 5 per cent daily increase in new cases were to continue unchecked, Fraser South would be looking at more than 1,000 cases each day within 30 days.

But health officials will be hoping more restrictions slow the increasing case numbers. And they’ve warned that if they continue, more restrictions are likely.

B.C.’s public health officer, Dr. Bonnie Henry, has warned that people across the province need to limit their contacts, and that workplaces and other facilities need to improve their COVID-19 responses in order to stop the surging number of cases in the province.

Beyond the Lower Mainland, the situation has also worsened, with new case counts more than quadrupling on Vancouver Island in recent weeks, and significant increases also seen in the Okanagan, Cariboo, Kootenays and in northern B.C.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, health officials in B.C. and elsewhere have stressed that unless the virus is held in check through social distancing and behavioural changes, worsening case numbers could clog the hospital system and lead to a decline in health outcomes both for those with the virus and those suffering from other ailments.

British Columbia continues to have one of the lowest death rates across North America and Europe, but increases to the rate of hospitalization and death usually lag behind new case diagnoses for several weeks.

Fraser South/East
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