B.C. figures showing vaccination rates rising and infection rates dropping in Surrey hot spots, but Kelowna area still has problems

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COVID-19 cases fell across Surrey in the past week, including in hard-hit Newton neighbourhoods, according to the most recent figures from the B.C. Centre for Disease Control.

In West Newton, cases fell to an average daily rate of 40.7 for every 100,000 people from 60 just a week ago — the highest rate in the province. But case rates in many Surrey neighbourhoods are still notably higher than elsewhere in Metro Vancouver.

In Vancouver, 21 new cases were identified in Northeast False Creek, pushing the case rate up to 22.2 for every 100,000 people — the highest of any neighbourhood in the city of Vancouver.

Cases also increased in and around Kelowna, one of several regions in the Interior where transmission increased from the previous week. Rutland remains the worst-hit area in the Interior, with a daily average of 21.2 cases for every 100,000 people. Earlier in the month, health authorities identified the neighbourhood as a COVID-19 “hot spot.”

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Vaccination rates across Surrey neighbourhoods have risen as health officials expanded vaccination outreach. At least half of residents in every neighbourhood in Surrey has received at least one dose of vaccine as of May 17. That’s higher than several neighbourhoods in downtown Vancouver and Richmond where vaccination rates are in the low forties.

Vaccination rates are lowest at UBC, at 31 per cent, and Peace River North in northeast B.C., at 33 per cent.

Case rates in Peace River North fell to 13 cases for every 100,000 people from 18 between May 4 and 10. Case rates are still nearly twice as high as neighbouring regions, though, likely driven by an outbreak at the Site C dam project declared at the end of April.

Health authorities launched a new online tool that allows anyone to look up COVID-19 case and vaccination rates in their neighbourhood, as well as view historical trends and other information. The tool can be found here.

Academics, researchers, journalists and the public had been calling on authorities to release more data for months, with limited success. Officials finally promised to make the figures public following public outcry after Postmedia published details from leaked CDC documents showing neighbourhood-level details on COVID-19 cases, vaccinations and more.

ngriffiths@postmedia.com

twitter.com/njgriffiths


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