Looking from a street in Nelson BC to the hills beyond

From the frying pan to the fire: viral heat in Nelson still turned up but on a different channel

By Timothy Schafer, The Nelson Daily, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

The song might remain the same but the tune has changed as COVID-19 cases decrease in Nelson and area but another fall virus is making its way through the population.

Although the number of COVID-19 cases has been on the decline, infection rates remain high with other respiratory viruses like respiratory syncytial virus (RSV).

The increase of the virus isn’t a cause for alarm in Nelson and across the region, said Ashley Stewart, Interior Health A/team lead, communications and engagement.

“During the fall and winter, we expect to see a surge of respiratory illnesses and we are beginning to see an increase in cases of influenza and other respiratory viruses like RSV,” Stewart explained.

There has been a steady increase in visits to health care practitioners for respiratory symptoms since mid-September, the B.C. Centre for Disease Control noted in its Nov. 16 report. Acute respiratory infection-related symptoms and, more recently, influenza symptoms have led that increase. 

“A higher proportion of these visits is observed among younger children, which is a typical pattern for seasonal respiratory viruses. COVID-19-related visits have started to show early signs of decline across regions and age groups,” the report read. 

Starting in early November the detection of influenza A viruses has increased rapidly throughout the province, and Nelson is not exempt. 

That means a lot of people home sick from work, or missing school, or just plain home sick, as people in general approach the new viral season with some post-pandemic trepidation. But the rise in infection rates doesn’t mean a return to pandemic-like limitations.

“We will be closely watching the rates of infection this winter and looking to provincial guidance on any restrictions, but at this time, we don’t see the need for additional restrictions,” said Stewart.

COVID-19 weekly summary 

The number of reported COVID-19 cases (Nov. 6-12) among people eligible for PCR testing was lower compared to the previous week (Oct. 30– Nov. 5). 

The severity of the illness — new hospitalization admissions, new critical care admissions and deaths — has remained stable or has declined overall. 

The average for cases declined slowly from Oct. 16 to Nov. 4 and has increased slowly up to Nov 12, with the number of new hospital admissions slowly declining. The number of critical care admissions remains stable.

Source: B.C. Centre for Disease Control

Across the province

Tracking COVID-19 (provincially) over the time span of Nov. 6-12:

  • – There were 487 cases reported; 
  • – There were 144 new hospital admissions reported; 
  • – There were 33 new critical care admissions reported; and
  • – There were 30 deaths within 30 days of a first positive COVID-19 test reported. 

On Nov. 17: 

  • – There were 328 individuals in the hospital who tested positive for COVID-19; and 
  • – There were 26 individuals in critical care who tested positive for COVID-19. 
  • Source: B.C. Centre for Disease Control