The Mill Bay to Nanaimo corridor remains the epicentre of the worst month of COVID-19 on Vancouver Island since the beginning of the pandemic.
But the rise in COVID-19 cases levelled off in the hotspots of Nanaimo and Cowichan Valley South last week as health and local government officials ask residents to keep doing what they can to stop the spread of the virus.
The B.C. Centre for Disease Control reports 858 cases in the Central Vancouver Island region between Jan. 1, 2020 and Jan. 28, 2021 compared to 459 in Southern Vancouver Island and 279 in Northern Vancouver Island. Last week (from Jan. 22 to 28), those regions reported 142, 47, and 8, respectively.
The BCCDC also released weekly case numbers by local health service area Wednesday. Cowichan Valley South was again the area of Vancouver Island with the most cases, for a fourth straight week, with 53 new cases, down from 75 the previous week. The report showed 45 new COVID-19 cases in Nanaimo from Jan. 24-30, compared with 42 the week before. Next was Greater Victoria with 33 cases, Sooke with 13 and Cowichan Valley North with 10.
Dr. Sandra Allison, Island Health’s medical health officer for central Vancouver Island, spoke to Nanaimo city council Monday and said it’s a very busy time for her.
“I’m responding daily to cases in our community, in our schools, other teams are responding to cases in our facilities,” she said. “It’s important that people recognize that while we know that a vaccine is on the horizon, that we do have a pressure at this time to maintain our attention to the most fundamental principles of responding to a pandemic.”
Mayor Leonard Krog, in his mayor’s report, called for residents to exercise the restraint that he said has helped B.C. and Vancouver Island fare relatively well in limiting the spread of COVID-19.
“I also want to ask you all, please, to be patient and to be kind, never more so than now,” Krog said. “I realized the frustration that many of you feel within the context of relationships and family and community and school and sporting activities and all the community events that you would have liked to have been attending and participating in and it’s simply not possible, but we are not out of the woods yet.”