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North Shore COVID-19 cases decreasing, flu and RSV infections on the upswing

About 20 per cent of the population on North Shore has received a COVID-19 shot this fall
Vaccination Clinic 01 MW web
A senior gets a jab at North Vancouver's Lloyd Avenue COVID-19 vaccination clinic location on March 22, 2021.

An early-fall spike in the number of COVID-19 cases in the province is levelling off, including on the North Shore, according to the BC Centre for Disease Control. At the same time, rates of COVID vaccination are continuing to creep upward.

COVID-19 infections have decreased since early October, according to BCCDC data, along with reported hospitalizations and deaths from the virus.

Levels of COVID-19 detected in in both Fraser Health and Vancouver Coastal Health sewage plants, including the Lions Gate treatment plant, have plateaued following increases through September and early October.

The number of hospitalizations from COVID-19 has fallen by half from a provincial peak of 328 in the first week of October to 146 during the week ending Nov. 11. Vancouver Coastal Health had 22 COVID hospital admissions during the week of Nov. 5-11, half the number admitted a week earlier.

There were seven COVID-related deaths in Vancouver Coastal Health during the week of Nov. 5-11. Many deaths continue to be in people over 80 years old, according to the BCCDC.

Of those who have died after testing positive for COVID-19, 41 per cent died of illness caused by the virus while 59 per cent died of another cause, according to the provincial data.

The dominant strain of COVID-19 in Vancouver Coastal Health is HV.1 – making up about 50 per cent of cases, according to the BCCDC. Two other prevalent strains include XBB 1.9 and EG 5.1, which make up about a quarter of the cases each.

Part of the reason for the drop in COVID infections is likely a recent uptick in the vaccination rate.

On the North Shore, about 20 per cent of the population has had a shot against COVID-19 this fall. Rates among people who are immunocompromised are higher, reaching about 30 per cent in North and West Vancouver. Rates of vaccination among seniors are also higher, reaching between 35 and 37 per cent among those over 80.

Younger adults aged 18 to 29 have the lowest vaccination rates in all health areas.

Both COVID-19 and flu shots can be booked at local pharmacies as well as through the Lloyd Avenue ICBC site in North Vancouver.

While COVID-19 infections are decreasing, cases of influenza are on the upswing, the BCCDC reports, as are cases of RSV – another respiratory illness typically seen in children.

Increased levels of flu virus have been detected primarily in sewage plants in the Fraser Health area, while RSV has been detected in wastewater in Vancouver Coastal, Fraser and Vancouver Island health areas.

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