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North Shore recorded 54 new COVID-19 cases to Jan. 2

North Van, West Van end 2020 with 1,623 reported cases of the virus

Of the approximately 52,000 cases of COVID-19 in BC in 2020, 1,623 cases were among North Shore residents, year-end statistics have revealed.

North Vancouver had 1,169 cases of coronavirus in 2020, while West Vancouver had 454 cases, according to figures released by B.C.’s Centre for Disease Control for the end of December.

The statistics showed the North Shore had a cumulative rate of infection of between 600 and 900 cases per 100,000 people for the year.

That is less than other areas of the Lower Mainland like Surrey, Burnaby, Langley and Abbotsford, but more than Vancouver Island.

Within the North Shore-Coast Garibaldi Health Region, the Sea to Sky corridor including Whistler and Squamish had one of the highest rates of COVID-19 cases per population in 2020 with 503 cases. An outbreak among young workers in Whistler in November contributed to those numbers. The Sunshine Coast had 96 cases and Powell River had 53.

More recently the rates of infection on the North Shore and other areas of Vancouver Coastal Health have stabilized.

There were 54 new cases on the North Shore in the week ending Jan. 2, including 42 cases in North Vancouver and 12 cases in West Vancouver.

On Thursday, Dr. Bonnie Henry, the province’s medical health officer, extended the existing public health orders banning social gatherings and many sports activities for another month, to Feb. 5.

“This risk of spreading COVID-19 remains very high right now,” she said. “Our curve is trending upwards. Now is our time to stay the course.”

Asked about people who chose to ignore public health orders not to gather and who travelled over Christmas, Henry said, “It’s frustrating.”

“Some people made the decision to make an exception for themselves,” she said. “If 10,000 people, a few people in every town, every village and city, makes these small concessions for themselves, our risk increases exponentially.”

Henry said most people are doing their best to comply with the rules but there are few who haven’t “wavered now and then.”

“Which doesn't mean it's OK. It just means it’s hard,” she said. “And we have to have compassion.”

She also warned that if the province needs to clamp down harder to stop the spread of the virus, it will.

As of Thursday, there have been 56,015 cases of coronavirus reported in B.C., including 761 new cases.

There are currently 6,349 active cases of COVID-19 in the province, including 372 people in hospital, 74 of them in intensive care. A total of 970 people have died of COVID-19.

Just over 41,000 people have also received the vaccine.