11 more people die of COVID-19 in B.C., as 768 new cases confirmed

·4 min read
A person walks their dog in rainy Vancouver, B.C., on Friday, Sept.17, 2021.  (Maggie MacPherson/CBC - image credit)
A person walks their dog in rainy Vancouver, B.C., on Friday, Sept.17, 2021. (Maggie MacPherson/CBC - image credit)

B.C. health officials announced 768 new cases of COVID-19 and 11 more deaths on Friday.

In a written statement, the province said there are currently 6,031 active cases of people infected with the novel coronavirus in B.C.

A total of 298 people are in hospital, with 135 in intensive care.

Overall hospitalizations, which typically lag behind spikes and dips in new cases, are up by six per cent from last Friday, when 281 people were in hospital with the disease and about 168 per cent from a month ago when 111 people were in hospital.

The regional breakdown of new cases is as follows:

  • 239 new cases in Fraser Health, which has 1,846 total active cases.

  • 183 new cases in Interior Health, which has 1,499 total active cases.

  • 161 new cases in Northern Health, which has 933 total active cases.

  • 102 new cases in Island Health, which has 700 total active cases.

  • 83 new cases in Vancouver Coastal Health, which has 1,043 total active cases.

The number of patients in intensive care has remained the same from 135 a week ago but has gone up by 164 per cent from a month ago when 51 people were in the ICU.

The provincial death toll from the disease is now 1,888 lives lost out of 177,954 confirmed cases to date.

The regional breakdown of deaths over the last 24 hours are:

  • Five in Interior Health.

  • Four in Vancouver Coastal Health.

  • Two in Fraser Health.

As of Friday, 86.5 per cent of those 12 and older in B.C. have received their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine and 78.9 per cent a second dose.

So far, 7,675,294 doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been administered, including 3,659,495 second doses.

Long-term care outbreaks

There are a total of 20 active outbreaks in assisted living and long-term care. Of those, 12 are in Interior Health, four in Fraser Health, two in Vancouver Coastal and two in the Northern Health region.

Meanwhile a COVID-19 outbreak continues to impact residents of a long-term care home in Prince George.

So far, five residents have died from the outbreak, which was first declared Sept. 5. A total of 24 residents and three staff members have tested positive for the virus.

Andrew Kurjata/CBC
Andrew Kurjata/CBC

Northern Health spokesperson Eryn Collins said it did not know the source of the outbreak, but that more than 95 percent of residents have been fully vaccinated.

The health authority did not disclose the vaccination rates among staff but said it will begin collecting and sharing that information after a provincial health order requiring long-term care workers to by vaccinated comes into effect on Oct. 12.

On Friday, Fraser Health declared the outbreak over at Menno Home in Abbotsford. The outbreak at Opal by Element in Vancouver Coastal Health and Sunset Lodge in Island Health have also been declared over.

Voting and the virus

With voting in the federal election set for Monday, Elections Canada says some people who are required to self-isolate due to a positive COVID-19 test or close contact with someone who has tested positive may not be able to cast a ballot.

In accordance with their provincial or territorial rules, people affected by COVID-19, will have no way to cast a ballot on Sept. 20, unless they've previously requested a mail-in ballot or voted in the advance polls.

Every province and territory has rules requiring people to self-isolate if they've tested positive for COVID-19 or have come into close contact with someone who has, though the rules vary slightly between jurisdictions.

Elections Canada says it won't require voters to be vaccinated or to show proof of vaccination in order to vote in the 2021 federal election.

The B.C. government's website explicitly states its vaccine card won't be required to vote.

Vaccine proof required

While a vaccine card is not required to vote in Monday's election, it is required to access most non-essential places and services in B.C. now.

As of Monday, British Columbians over the age of 12 are required to prove their vaccination status to enter some businesses and participate in some activities, including dining in restaurants, attending films and concerts or visiting a fitness facility.

Adults aged 19 and over must show a piece of government-issued photo ID along with their vaccination card.

The immunization record card British Columbians received when they got their shots will be accepted as proof until Sept. 26, by which time residents are expected to have their vaccine card. It can can be accessed through the provincial Health Gateway website.

Alberta is also introducing its own proof-of-vaccine program as cases surge in that province.

The program will require people to provide proof-of-vaccination status or a negative COVID-19 test in order to gain entry to participating businesses and social events.

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