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Drop in Burnaby COVID-19 cases slows as outbreaks continue

At least three Burnaby outbreaks remain
burnaby covid-19 cases jan 3 coronavirus
The latest new cases numbers in Burnaby and New Westminster.

Several outbreaks are still active in Burnaby, but new cases in the city dropped last week, according to the latest data from the BC Centre for Disease Control.

Outbreaks remain at Burnaby Hospital, as well as the long-term care centres Agecare Harmony (116 cases and 30 deaths) and George Derby Centre (55 cases and 14 deaths).

New COVID-19 cases in Burnaby had been seeing steep drops in recent weeks, but the Jan. 3-9 saw the decline slow down - possibly due to more people being tested after a lull during the holiday season.

According to the BCCDC, Burnaby had 152 new cases from Jan. 3-9, a small drop from the 169 cases from Dec. 27-Jan. 3 – which was a large drop from Dec. 20 to 26, when there were 214 new cases in Burnaby – a drop from the 287 new cases from Dec. 13-19 and 341 cases from Dec. 6-12 – the worst week for the city.

While cases dropped as December went on, the month was also Burnaby’s worst with 1,139 new cases, compared with the 1,081 new cases during November. Burnaby had just 287 new cases in all of October and 238 cases in September.

According to the BCCDC, Burnaby has had 3,077 COVID-19 cases between Jan. 1 and Dec. 31, 2020.

The number of people actively battling COVID-19 in B.C. fell for the fifth consecutive day, to the lowest total since November 6: 4,624, according to numbers released on Friday.

This number keeps falling as the number of people considered recovered outpaces the number of new infections. While the province detected 536 new cases, there were 712 new recoveries. 

The new cases bring the total number of people diagnosed as having the virus, since the first case was detected last January, to 59,608. More than 88.2%, or 52,605 of those people, are considered to be recovered, while the province lost track of 1,341 people who had tested positive and likely left the province.

Unfortunately, seven more people – all seniors, according to provincial health officer Bonnie Henry – died overnight. That brings B.C.'s death toll from the virus to 1,038, since the first death was recorded on March 9. Six of the new deaths were in the Fraser Health region, while one death was on Vancouver Island. 

Vaccinations have started to ramp up again, thanks to the province getting more doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, and remote communities in B.C. using doses of the Moderna vaccine. There were 6,313 additional people who have been vaccinated since the government's update yesterday, and a total of 69,746 people vaccinated since vaccinations started on December 16.

Henry said that B.C. has detected more-infectious variants of the COVID-19 virus, which are believed to have originated in the U.K., and in South Africa. There have been four cases of the U.K. variant, including three cases that are linked, while the other infection was a traveller. One person has the South African variant, but that person did not travel and health officials do not know how the person contracted the virus.

"Right now, we don't believe that either of those variants are causing a lot of spread of illness in our communities, yet, but we are not by any means, out of the woods," Henry said. 

  • With additional reporting by Glen Korstrom, Business in Vancouver