New cases of COVID-19 have doubled over the last week in B.C., going from 409 reported between July 15 and 21 to 803 between July 22 and 28.
And due to the particularly rapid rise in the Interior Health region, travel to the Central Okanagan area is discouraged for those who are not fully immunized.
“We are concerned in public health about the quite rapid increase in number of people being affected by COVID-19 in the Central Okanagan, particularly in the Kelowna area,” provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said today.
She said transmission of the Delta variant is reflected in the rapid increase of cases, and that the virus is spreading in “pockets of people who are (not) immunized.”
“This is a wake-up call of what can happen when you start to see introduction, particularly of the more transmissible variants,” she said.
Additional measures will be in place there including mandatory mask-wearing in indoor public spaces. People are also encouraged to wear masks outside if unable to distance and if they are not fully immunized. In addition, people can receive their second dose of vaccine after 28 days (four weeks), rather than the longer interval elsewhere in the province.
The province’s seven-day average number of new cases has risen to 115, up from 58 a week ago. Provincial health authorities reported 185 new cases of the virus today, the highest since June 5. Since the pandemic began, B.C. has recorded 149,444 cases.
Of the new cases, 26 are in the Vancouver Coastal Health region (including Richmond), 35 in the Fraser Health region, eight in the Island Health region, 113 in the Interior Health region, two in the Northern Health region and one new case of a person who resides outside of Canada.
There are 909 active cases of COVID-19 in B.C. and 47 of those people are hospitalized, 20 of whom are in intensive care.
To date, 6,685,982 doses of Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna and AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines have been administered in B.C.; 2,931,128 of those are second doses.
This means that 81.8 per cent of adults and 80.9 per cent of people aged 12 and older have received their first dose of a vaccine. In addition, 66.1 per cent of adults and 63.2 per cent of those aged 12 and older have received two doses.
Sadly, there were three new virus-related deaths reported today, bringing that total to 1,771.
Active outbreaks continue at two long-term care facilities.
For the latest medical updates, including case counts, prevention, risks and to find a testing centre near you: http://www.bccdc.ca/ or follow @CDCofBC on Twitter.
Hannah Scott, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Richmond Sentinel