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COVID-19 test positivity, case counts soar in New Westminster

The Omicron surge is being reflected in numbers around B.C., and New West is following the trend
Test positivity screenshot
COVID-19 test positivity rates in the Lower Mainland have skyrocketed, as seen in this B.C. Centre for Disease Control map for Dec. 28 to Jan. 3. (The bright red areas reflect a positivity of greater than 20%.)

COVID-19 case numbers and test positivity rates have skyrocketed around B.C. – and New Westminster is no exception.

The most recent BCCDC data (for the week of Dec. 28 to Jan. 3) shows 535 new cases in a one-week period in New West, bringing the city's new daily case rate to 91 per 100,000 people. For the same week, test positivity for all public tests sat at 36%.

Those numbers represent a huge jump from the situation in early December. Just a month ago – between Nov. 28 and Dec. 4 – New West saw 28 new cases in a week and a daily case rate of 8 per 100,000.

New Westminster's numbers are in line with the situation around the Metro Vancouver region, where case counts and test positivity have soared across the board.

The Omicron variant is making itself felt in a surge of cases around the province. Yesterday, B.C. reported 2,542 new cases, bringing the total of active cases in the province to 27,106. Those numbers, however, are known to be a severe undercount, as the province's testing capacity has maxed out and people have been advised to stay home and isolate rather than test in many cases.

Many people who do book testing appointments at public health sites are also being sent home with rapid antigen tests (RATs), since the standard PCR tests are being saved for health-care workers, seniors and others who may be more vulnerable. RAT results are not included in the official daily case counts.

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry has estimated that actual case counts may be four to five times higher than the reported number.

Follow Julie MacLellan on Twitter @juliemaclellan.
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