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Maple Ridge, Pitt Meadows seniors well vaccinated as next COVID variant looms

The newest Omicron variant has been nicknamed the Kraken
B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix pauses while responding to questions during a news conference, in Vancouver, on Monday, Nov. 7, 2022. The British Columbia government will reopen 20 hospital emergency operations centres set up for COVID-19 to deal with an expected surge in flu, respiratory illness and COVID cases. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

How well are Pitt Meadows and Maple Ridge prepared to face the next wave of COVID-19 as a new variant dubbed “Kraken” becomes more common?

On Friday, Minister of Health Adrian Dix announced the province would reactivate its COVID-19 emergency operations centres, for an oncoming wave of respiratory illnesses.

The number of people in hospital has been rising, as the province faces the “tripledemic” of COVID, a bad flu season, and RSV, another respiratory disease that usually hits kids.

The new wave is expected to include the new strain of COVID dubbed the Kraken, formally known as Omicron subvariant XBB.1.5.

At least a dozen cases of the new variant had been detected in B.C. by Thursday, Jan. 5.

Authorities have been pushing more British Columbians to get vaccinated, both with a fourth, bivalent shot against COVID, as well as against the flu.

READ MORE: B.C. to reactivate its COVID emergency operations centre

READ MORE: B.C. yet to see post-holidays spike in COVID-19 hospitalization

Seniors in Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows, among those most vulnerable to COVID-19 and the flu, have been vaccinated at a fairly high rate.

As of Jan. 4, 74 per cent of those aged 70 and older have received four doses of the COVID-19 vaccine in this area, according to the BC Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC).

Among those 50 and over, 54 per cent have received all four doses.

However, very few young children have received any vaccinations against COVID-19. Just 16 per cent of children between newborns and four year olds have received their first shot in Langley

Among five to 11 year olds, it was 50 per cent.

As of Jan. 5, according to the BCCDC, there were 356 people hospitalized in B.C. with COVID-19, 25 of those in critical care. There had been 13 deaths in the week leading up to Dec. 31, the most recent date for which there was data.

The pace of new vaccinations continued to slow down.

While more than 1.6 million British Columbians – approximately 32 per cent of the population – have received a fourth dose of at least one vaccine, just 22,002 got vaccinated in the week leading up to Dec. 31.

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Matthew Claxton

About the Author: Matthew Claxton

Raised in Langley, as a journalist today I focus on local politics, crime and homelessness.
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