Whistler's COVID-19 transmission rate continues to slow, reported Vancouver Coastal Health Thursday, with 56 new cases between Feb. 8 and 15.
"Based on epidemiological data, Vancouver Coastal Health (VCH) continues to record a sustained reduction in COVID-19 transmission in Whistler compared to previous weeks," wrote the health authority in the Feb. 18 information bulletin.
The 56 newly recorded cases are in addition to half a dozen older cases that have been identified as Whistler residents, VCH said. There have been 676 positive cases in the resort since Jan. 1.
VCH noted the majority of cases "continue to be among young adults who reside in Whistler, with COVID-19 transmission occurring predominantly in household settings," before going on to advise both locals and visitors "to avoid social gatherings, to stay home while sick, to wash their hands regularly, and to maintain physical distance when in public. Those who have previously contracted and recovered from COVID-19 are also advised to continue to adhere to all public health guidance."
Meanwhile, the Howe Sound health region, which encompasses Whistler, Pemberton, Squamish, Lions Bay and parts of the southern Stl'atl'mx Nation, recorded 72 new cases between Feb. 8 and 13, for a total of 1,325 lab-confirmed cases since Jan. 1, 2020.
By comparison, the health region saw 142 new infections in the first week of February, and 287 the week before that. Even still, the region's per-capita transmission rate remains the highest among the areas shown on the BC Centre for Disease Control's most recent COVID-19 map, at more than 20 new cases a day per 100,000 residents.
In response to Whistler's climbing caseload, B.C.'s health ministry brought in a rapid COVID-19 testing trial in the last week of January, which remains ongoing. Health officials will reassess the need for rapid testing locally on an ongoing basis.
Anyone with COVID-like symptoms is advised to first consult B.C.’s self-assessment tool. If you meet the self-assessment criteria or you are still concerned, you should call Whistler’s COVID clinic line at 604-966-1428, between 9 a.m. and 2 p.m. daily.
This story has been updated since publication.