VICTORIA -- Health officials say the concerning spread of COVID-19 in the Nanaimo region is largely connected to sick people going about their normal daily activities.

This week, Island Health released statistics showing the lion’s share of active COVID-19 infections on Vancouver Island are in the Nanaimo region.

As of Feb. 10, Island Health reported that 157 of the total 230 active cases were located in the Central Island area, or approximately 68 per cent of all active cases.

Health officials say in that region, Nanaimo represents the greatest concern.

“Sometimes people are going to work when they are just experiencing mild symptoms,” said Mid-Island Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Sandra Allison.

“That leads to people being identified as contacts in workplaces.”

Island Health says it has tracked cases where people with mild symptoms have made numerous stops to visit family and friends.

This is something contract tracers refer to as “serial contacts.”

As Nanaimo cases climb, the Cowichan Valley appears to be emerging from an onslaught of infections.

After the holiday season, family gatherings were blamed for a spike in infections in the greater Duncan area. On Thursday, health officials said the region is showing positive movement in bending its curve downward.

In the week of Jan. 31 to Feb. 6, the Cowichan Valley area saw just 30 new infections while the Nanaimo area reported 93.

Central Island Health officials are pleading with the public, especially those in the Nanaimo region, to reduce the number of contacts they have this holiday long weekend.