Wednesday, July 24, 2024
July 24, 2024

Wastewater shows rising COVID-19 levels

From reduced service hours to cancelled social plans, if it feels like everyone on the island knows someone coming down with COVID right now, there’s at least some supporting evidence, according to provincial health officials. 

SARS-CoV-2 levels are elevated in most of the province’s wastewater testing sites relative to April, according to a monthly update from the BC Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC) that came Thursday, July 4, with Island Health region sites in Nanaimo and Comox Valley holding steady while Victoria’s levels rose. And while testing showed elevated levels of the virus that causes COVID-19, the number of detected cases has increased even while testing rates remained stable.  

Neither that wastewater detection increase nor the Island Health region’s rising positivity rate –– 24.5 per cent for the week ending June 29, according to BCCDC data, up from 10.8 per cent for the week ending May 11 –– necessarily mean the disease is more severe, according to BCCDC’s July 4 Respiratory Epidemiological Summary, but more people are likely becoming sick. 

“COVID-19 severity indicators remain stable since late May,” read the report. “The majority of hospital admissions are among adults 60 years and older.” 

Genomic surveillance testing across the province indicates the KP.3* and LB.1* sublineages of JN.1* account for the majority of sequenced virus specimens; that mirrors the national context across Canada, officials said, where these sublineages are showing growth. Most COVID-19 indicators nationwide are at low levels with signs of increase, although trends vary across the provinces and territories.   

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