Reported COVID-19 Positive Test Rate In Northern BC Now Worse Than New York City

The region’s 7-day rolling average is nearly triple NYC’s.

New York City was once at the global epicentre of coronavirus, with tens of thousands of deaths and the entire city virtually locked down. But since the spring, cases have come way down thanks largely to widespread mask wearing and social distancing.

Though cases in the U.S. city are again on the rise, by one measure it is actually doing better right now than Northern BC. Hard as it is to believe, the rolling seven-day average for positive cases reported by Northern Health has spiked to 8.5 percent. By comparison, in New York City the current seven-day average is 2.8 percent

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By total numbers, of course, New York has been hit incomparably harder. It’s had nearly 680,000 cases since the pandemic began and 34,500 deaths. Northern Health, by contrast, reports 772 cases and 6 deaths. But Northern B.C. has a much smaller and more dispersed population, meaning that a 7-day rate approaching double digits is very worrying, especially compared to other parts of the province. 

Vancouver Island Health Authority is currently reporting a 1.5 per cent seven-day test rate, while in Vancouver Coastal it’s 4.7 percent. The Fraser Health Authority reports an 8.9 percent rate, the worst in the province, but Northern Health isn’t far behind. 

Part of that is due to the outbreak at the LNG Canada facility in Kitimat, where 43 employees as of last Friday had tested positive. But that’s not the whole story.

“Without more detailed data, it’s impossible to know which areas in the North are seeing the highest increase in cases,” The Tyee reports. “However, school exposures reported in the North might give an indication: exposures grew from eight on Thursday to 13 on Friday and were all reported in the Interior and the northeast regions.”

For now, people are being urged to do what also worked in New York–stay home, wear a mask and keep social interactions as small and distanced as possible.  

Written by Skeena Strong

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