Maps show explosive growth of COVID-19 in Lower Mainland

The explosive growth in COVID-19 cases that B.C. has seen in recent weeks is reflected in the latest geographic data released by the B.C. Centre for Disease Control.

The BCCDC released two new maps of the province's coronavirus infections on Wednesday, one showing the number and relative density of new cases recorded during the week of March 28 to April 3, and the other showing the cumulative number of cases recorded in the province since the pandemic began.

The weekly map is covered in the dark red that indicates more than 20 cases were discovered per 100,000 residents per day during the week in question.

Nearly every local health area in Metro Vancouver saw that many per-capita cases last week. The local health area that includes most of the City of Surrey again led the way with 1,245 new cases detected during the week in question.

As of March 31, Surrey has seen a total of 26,103 cases of COVID-19 since the pandemic began, equivalent to more than 4,000 cases for every 100,000 residents in the region.

Surrey accounted for 26 per cent of the 100,048 total coronavirus infections British Columbia had seen as of March 31.

The rest of Metro Vancouver has been less hard-hit since the pandemic began, but last week saw significant numbers of per-capita cases across the region.

Joining Surrey in the 20-cases-per-100,000 residents category during the week that ended April 3 are 11 other local health areas in Metro Vancouver: Tri-Cities (381 cases overall), Burnaby (366), Maple Ridge/Pitt Meadows (231), North Vancouver (217), Delta (199), West Vancouver (99) and five of the six local health areas that make up the City of Vancouver.

In total, Vancouver saw 1,211 new cases last week. The city had accounted for an overall total of 15,731 COVID-19 infections as of March 31, almost 16 per cent of B.C.'s total to that date.

The only regions of Metro Vancouver that didn't top 20 cases per 100,000 residents per day during the last week were Langley (222 cases), Richmond (218), South Surrey/White Rock (135), New Westminster (103) and the Vancouver local health area that includes the Downtown Eastside (90).

Of those regions, all but Richmond recorded between 15 and 20 new cases per 100,000 residents per day during the week shown on the map. Richmond recorded between 10 and 15 cases per 100,000.

Other areas of the Lower Mainland outside of Metro Vancouver have been similarly hard hit. The Howe Sound local health area, which includes Whistler, saw 410 more people test positive over the last week, keeping the region firmly in the 20-plus-new-cases-per-100,000 residents range.

Abbotsford and Mission each recorded totals that equate to between 15 and 20 cases per 100,000 residents during the week shown on the map.

Elsewhere in the province, hot spots for COVID-19 transmission can be found in the Revelstoke and Windermere local health areas in the southern Interior, as well as in the Peace River North and South local health areas in the northern Interior.

The Bella Coola Valley, Prince Rupert, Kitimat, Upper Skeena and Nisga'a local health areas also recorded more than 20 new daily cases per 100,000 residents during the week that ended April 3, as did the sparsely populated Vancouver Island West region.

On a cumulative basis, some of those regions now rival Surrey in terms of the number of cases they've recorded per capita.

Surrey, Howe Sound, Bella Coola Valley, Prince Rupert, Nisga'a and Upper Skeena are the only local health areas in B.C. that have seen more than 4,000 infections per 100,000 residents over the course of the pandemic.

The full-size versions of both the weekly and cumulative COVID-19 case maps can be found on the BCCDC website.