An Island Health graph showing COVID-19 cases in the central Island by local health area between Dec. 27 and Jan. 23. (Island Health image)

An Island Health graph showing COVID-19 cases in the central Island by local health area between Dec. 27 and Jan. 23. (Island Health image)

Central Island’s COVID-19 case spike shifting, says Island Health

Cowichan Valley has seen the highest number of cases, but Nanaimo and south Island seeing upticks

Most of central Island’s COVID-19 cases this month have been in the Cowichan Valley, but that can change quickly, says Island Health.

The health authority released case count data for the region on Wednesday, Jan. 27, showing how cases in the Cowichan Valley South local health area have impacted case numbers.

Dr. Richard Stanwick, Island Health’s chief medical health officer, said although the data shows the majority of the mid Island’s cases have been in one area, he noted there’s been an uptick in cases in Nanaimo and as of Wednesday, the south Island will show an almost equal number of cases as the central Island. Stanwick is expecting a cluster of cases to be announced in the south Island.

“We can’t somehow think, oh, it’s just a central Island problem, if we just closed off the Malahat, everything would be fine,” Stanwick said. “This virus will seize the opportunity to spread when given the opportunity.”

Case numbers for the week of Jan. 17-23 showed that of the 142 COVID-19 cases on the central Island, 74 were in Cowichan Valley South, 42 were in Nanaimo and 16 were in Cowichan Valley North. Next highest was Oceanside with five cases.

story continues below

Asked about providing community-specific data, Stanwick said case numbers are high enough to mitigate concerns about patient privacy.

“We are now reaching numbers where we can in fact, I believe, with confidence, break it down to the level of granularity which would still give people a picture as to where the highest concentrations of cases are at any given time without being concerned about individuals being identified,” the doctor said.

He suggested that uncertainty about vaccine delivery and squabbling about the immunization plan is undermining public health officials’ efforts to convey a sense of preparedness and he repeated provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry’s calls for people to continue to follow public health orders and to try to do more.

“There’s this COVID fatigue which unfortunately, this uncertainty is now probably feeding into, and that’s why I think Dr. Henry is asking for people who are already following [orders] and doing everything that she’s asking of them to continue to do so,” Stanwick said.

He said B.C. might not be able to handle a third wave of the pandemic and pointed to other jurisdictions where transmission has started happening at such a rapid pace that testing has failed to keep up.

“In Dr. Henry’s mind, we’re getting closer and closer to the point where we do not want to lose control of managing this virus…” Stanwick said. “We are very close to a situation where our health-care system could be extremely strained by this virus, and I think her anxiety is appropriately placed.”

READ ALSO: B.C. ramping up screening for faster-spreading COVID-19 ‘variants of concern’

READ ALSO: COVID-19 variant predicted to cause ‘unmanageable’ case spike in B.C., says report

READ ALSO: Vancouver Island in a January spike while B.C. cases decrease



editor@nanaimobulletin.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Coronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Robert Schram, here seen in January 2016, died Saturday, according to a friend. (Black Press Media file photo)
Sidney, Saanich Peninsula mourn the death of Mr. Beads

Bead artist Robert Schram was a familiar, well-loved figure in Sidney and beyond

Cathy Armstrong, executive director of the Land Conservancy, Paul Nursey CEO of Destination Greater Victoria and Saanich Coun. Susan Brice helped to kick off the annual Greater Victoria Flower Count at Abkhazi Garden Monday. This year, the flower count is less about rubbing the region’s weather in the rest of Canada’ faces, and more about extending a bouquet of compassion and love. (Nina Grossman/News Staff)
2021 Greater Victoria Flower Count sows seeds of compassion

Friendly flower count competition runs from March 3 to 10

Oak Bay police seized a fake police badge marked ‘Special Police’ from the car of a driver who rolled through the stop sign at the intersection of King George Terrace and Beach Drive on Saturday. (Black Press Media file photo)
Oak Bay Police seize fake police badge at traffic stop

Underage public drinking, face-to-face scams keep police busy

BC Housing ensures that by March 31, shelter will be available to all people living outside. (Black Press Media file photo)
All unhoused Victoria residents will be offered shelter by March 31, says BC Housing

BC Housing working to secure shelter locations in coming weeks

Paul Lewis is the Goldstream Gazette’s 2021 Local Hero as Arts Advocate of the Year. (Don Denton/Black Press Media)
West Shore driftwood sculptor inspired by Esquimalt Lagoon

Paul Lewis is the 2021 Arts Advocate of the Year

Langley resident Carrie MacKay shared a video showing how stairs are a challenge after spending weeks in hospital battling COVID-19 (Special to Langley Advance Times)
VIDEO: Stairs a challenge for B.C. woman who chronicled COVID-19 battle

‘I can now walk for six (to) 10 minutes a day’

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s coronavirus situation, May 8, 2020. (B.C. government photo)
B.C.’s weekend COVID-19 cases: 532 Saturday, 508 Sunday, 438 Monday

Fraser Health still has most, eight more coronavirus deaths

B.C. Attorney General David Eby speaks in the legislature, Dec. 7, 2020. Eby was given responsibility for housing after the October 2020 provincial election. (Hansard TV)
B.C. extends COVID-19 rent freeze again, to the end of 2021

‘Renoviction’ rules tightened, rent capped to inflation in 2022

Face mask hangs from a rear-view mirror. (Black Press image)
B.C. CDC unveils guide on how to carpool during the pandemic

Wearing masks, keeping windows open key to slowing the spread of COVID-19

Churches, including Langley’s Riverside Calvary Church, are challenging the regulations barring them from holding in-person worship services during COVID-19. (Langley Advance Times file)
Det. Sgt. Jim Callender. (Hamilton Police Service screenshot)
B.C. man dead, woman seriously injured after shooting in Hamilton, Ont.

The man was in the process of moving to the greater Toronto area, police say

Police have identified the vehicle involved in the Feb. 14 hit-and-run in Chemainus and are continuing to investigate. (Black Press Media files)
Police seize and identify suspect vehicle in hit-and-run

Investigation into death expected to be lengthy and involved

(Black Press file photo)
Child in critical condition, homicide investigators probe incident near Agassiz

The child was transported to hospital but is not expected to survive

Sewage plant in Lower Mainland, operated by Metro Vancouver. (Metro Vancouver screenshot)
‘Poop tracker’ launches as researchers test Lower Mainland sewage water for COVID-19

‘Studying the virus in wastewater allows researchers to look at an entire population…’

Most Read