VICTORIA -- The latest COVID-19 modelling data suggests cases have plateaued in B.C., and even begun to decline over the past month.

“We have slowly started decreasing again, which is important for us," said provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry on Friday. 

Vancouver Island cases began to rise in November before dipping down again in December. A second surge was then seen in January.

Henry said the early days of February suggest that COVID-19 cases have begun to level out in the Island Health region.

“On Vancouver Island we had an increase over the past number of weeks but that is slowly coming down again,” she said.

However, Vancouver Island currently appears to have the highest virus reproductive rate among all B.C. health authorities.

As a whole, B.C. has a reproductive rate below one, meaning that people who have tested positive for the virus are not spreading it to more than one person.

The reproductive rate has dropped below one in Fraser Health, Interior Health and Northern Health, and is close to one in Vancouver Coastal Health.

In the Island Health region, the reproductive rate is slightly above one, the highest in the province. However, Henry appeared confident that transmission of the virus had currently plateaued in the region and was in a position to decline in the days to come.

covid graph

“We have to remember this is an average and that the majority of people don’t transmit to anybody,” said Henry.

Some people who are involved in superspreader events -- when “someone can spread to many others” --  can skew the average, according to B.C.’s top doctor.

“(The reproductive rate) doesn’t always reflect the potential of each individual,” she said.

Henry said that recent modelling is “encouraging” and shows that the efforts of British Columbians are succeeding. But, she cautioned that transmission could surge again if people engage in risky contacts.

If B.C. maintains its current trajectory, Henry said British Columbians could potentially see a return to a “safe six bubble” by the end of February.