Cumulative case numbers for a seven-month period from the BC Centre for Disease Control.

Langley sandwiched between cities with higher COVID-19 numbers

The BC Centre for Disease Control has released a map that shows numbers of cases per community

Langley is doing better than its neighbours at reducing the spread of COVID-19 compared to neighbouring municipalities but it’s not among the Lower Mainland communities with the lowest numbers of cases.

The BC Centre for Disease Control released a map showing cases in the period from January to July and will be updated monthly.

“The cases are mapped by where an individual, who has tested positive for COVID-19, lives. It is not surprising that communities with larger populations will have more cases,” explained Dixon Tam, spokesperson for the Fraser Health Authority.

The map shows case numbers in the various B.C. communities from January through July. Langley’s 138 cases contrast with its neighbours’ higher numbers.

The Township population was 143,224 while the City was 25,888, according to the most recently available census figures from 2016.

Surrey was 518,467 for population and had 521 cases of the virus in the first seven months of this year. (That does not include South Surrey/White Rock.)

Abbotsford had 454 cases in that six-month period. Its population was 149,928.

Mission, with a 2016 population of 38,833, has had 158 cases of COVID-19.

City Mayor Val van den Broek is not sure why Langley numbers are lower than its nearest neighbours but she advised residents to continue to follow the directions of health experts.

“We just need to continue listening,” she said. “You know, wash your hands, stay at home, keep bubble small.”

She said the City is watching the restart of school in September to help determine its next steps in terms of opening more facilities.

The City takes part in virtual meetings with Fraser Health and other regional mayors to stay updated on the pandemic. She expects those briefings to resume in September.

“As a health authority with a large population, we see some of our larger communities with higher case numbers on the LHA map,” Tam commented. “As the cases are mapped based on where someone lives, the map doesn’t necessarily represent the community where a COVID-19 transmission occurred.”

Tam explained more about how health experts are tracking the virus.

“Outbreaks of COVID-19 are a major driver of the number of COVID-19 cases seen in a community,” he said. “For example, COVID-19 outbreaks in correctional facilities and food-processing plants within Fraser Health have occurred in Fraser East and have contributed to higher case numbers in certain areas in Fraser South and Fraser East.”

Langley Township Mayor Jack Froese said he appreciates people doing what they can.

“It’s great that people are able to do what needs to be done to reduce the spread of COVID-19,” he said.

Like van den Broek, Froese encouraged residents to continue protocols that help prevent the spread of the virus.

“Hopefully everyone continues to distance and wash their hands and stay safe,” he said.

In response to the number of cases trending upward in recent weeks, Fraser Health is hoping young people can help convince young people to change their behaviour.

Fraser Health is looking for volunteer health influencers in the 20 to 29 age group to advise it on new social media content that could help bend the curve.

“In the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, young people ages 20 to 29 represented just 12 per cent of COVID-19 cases in our region. In recent weeks, we have seen a substantial increase in this demographic, with 30 per cent of new cases within this group, though they comprise just 14 per cent of Fraser Health’s population,” said Dr. Victoria Lee, Fraser Health president and CEO. “This shows that this demographic is becoming sick with COVID-19 at double the rate of the general population. We need to ensure we are doing everything we can to keep our friends and families safe.”

Fraser Health has its own TikTok videos on its own account (@fraserhealth) aimed at preventing transmission among young adults who may be gearing up to celebrate the final days of summer by gathering with others.

Anyone interested in learning about the Fraser Health social media influencer gig can go online to fraserhealth.ca/healthinfluencer.

The message Fraser Health wants to get out:

  • It’s okay to say ‘no’ to a social gathering right now. There is no better excuse than a global pandemic.
  • State your boundaries clearly. For example, you may say, “I’m managing my exposure carefully and keeping my bubble small.”
  • Be a role model. Hearing you state your boundaries may make it easier for others to be brave about theirs.
  • Know the rules, follow them, and share them.
  • Invited to an event? Ask what COVID-19 safety measures they will have in place. Ask if they are aware of the Provincial Health Officer’s orders on gatherings and events.

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