Langley’s COVID-19 case rate more than doubled over the course of a week as the Omicron variant began spreading rapidly through British Columbia.
There were 153 cases in Langley in the week of Dec. 12 to 18, up from 65 the week before. Cases had been dropping as the Delta wave receded for the past two months.
According to the BC Centre For Disease Control’s most recent data release, Langley’s rate of cases per day per 100,000 people jumped to 14 in the week of Dec. 13 to 19. The previous week, the case rate had been six.
Every single municipality in Fraser Health saw an increase in the case rate over the same week. Only Mission and New Westminster currently saw higher case rates than Langley.
The case rates were highly variable across Langley’s neighbourhoods. South Langley Township’s case rate was five, with just four actual cases reported across the area.
Meanwhile, Aldergrove/Otter had six cases, North Langley Township had nine, Brookswood had 10, Langley City had 23, Willoughby had 52, and Walnut Grove-Fort Langley had 51. Walnut Grove-Fort Langley had the highest case rate per capita in Langley, at 21.
What B.C.’s chief medical health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry called Omicron’s “explosive growth” has hit multiple communities in the Lower Mainland, but it has hit Vancouver and the North Shore particularly hard.
For months, those areas have had lower rates of COVID transmission than Langley and its Fraser Valley neighbours, but now North Vancouver, West Vancouver, and the west side of the City of Vancouver were seeing higher transmission rates than Langley, Surrey, or Abbotsford. North Vancouver alone had 267 cases in a week.
School exposures in Langley have been rising in recent weeks as well.
Although classes are out, Fraser Health showed 10 Langley schools have had exposure events in the past two weeks, up from just four a few weeks ago, before the Omicron surge began.
Richard Bullpit Elementary had six exposure events between Dec. 8 and 15, and Topham Elementary had eight exposure events.
Meanwhile, parents in Langley remain less enthusiastic than those in other communities about getting their children vaccinated.
The rate of kids aged five to 11 who have received their first shot jumped to 19 per cent in Langley as of Dec. 20, up from 13 per cent the week before. However, Langley still lags most other Fraser Health communities, including Mission (20 per cent), Maple Ridge/Pitt Meadows (26 per cent) and New Westminster (39 per cent).
Most of Vancouver’s neighbourhoods had child vaccination rates of above 40 per cent, with Vancouver-Midtown at 57 per cent.
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