B.C. records 16 more deaths from COVID-19 and 1,711 new cases over 3 days

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Masked people in downtown Vancouver on June 22.  (Ben Nelms/CBC - image credit)
Masked people in downtown Vancouver on June 22. (Ben Nelms/CBC - image credit)

On Monday, B.C. health officials announced 1,711 new cases of COVID-19 and 16 more deaths from over the weekend, representing as many deaths as the past three weeks combined.

In a written statement, Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix said there are currently 5,056 active cases of people infected with the novel coronavirus in B.C.

A total of 133 people are in hospital, with 80 in intensive care.

COVID-19 in British Columbia by the numbers

Overall hospitalizations, which typically lag behind spikes and dips in new cases, are up by nearly 28 per cent from last Monday, when 104 people were in hospital with the disease.

The number of patients in intensive care is up by about 70 per cent from 47 a week ago.

The provincial death toll from the disease is now 1,801 lives lost out of 160,630 confirmed cases to date.

As of Monday, 83.2 per cent of those 12 and older in B.C. have received their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine and 74.9 per cent a second dose.

So far, 7.3 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been administered, including 3.4 million second doses.

Deaths per day due to COVID-19 in B.C., daily total and rolling average

Restrictions tighten in B.C.'s Interior

Some COVID-19 restrictions have been reintroduced in B.C.'s Interior, as health officials attempt to curb the spread of the delta variant.

Earlier this summer restrictions were put in place for the Central Okanagan only, but in expanding the restrictions to encompass all of Interior Health, officials said the virus is now spreading in all parts of the region. It's also on the rise in the rest of B.C. too.

The regional breakdown of new cases over the weekend is as follows:

  • 768 new cases in Interior Health, which has 1,930 active cases.

  • 419 new cases in Fraser Health, which has 1,194 active cases.

  • 290 new cases in Vancouver Coastal Health, which has 1,223 active cases.

  • 133 new cases in Island Health, which has 401 active cases.

  • 100 new cases in Northern Health, which has 298 active cases.

  • One new case of people who reside outside of Canada, a group that has 10 active cases.

Rolling average of new COVID-19 cases: Interior Health vs. Rest of British Columbia

The measures in the Interior Health region include mandatory masks in indoor spaces for everyone aged 12 and over.

High-intensity indoor group fitness is not allowed, while low-intensity indoor group exercise is permitted to a maximum of 10 people per class. Outdoor group fitness is limited to 50 people per class.

Indoor personal gatherings are limited to one other household of up to five guests. Organized indoor events have a 50-person limit and organized outdoor events are capped at 100 people.

Transmission is primarily happening in areas with lower vaccination rates, particularly in people who are completely unvaccinated, according to Henry.

The province's numbers show that 71 per cent of cases from August 11 to 17 were among unvaccinated people. From August 10 to 16, 84 per cent of all hospitalizations were seen in people who had not yet had one shot.

In Nelson, where transmission is high and health resources are stretched thin, 72 per cent of eligible residents had received a first dose as of Aug. 20. In nearby Creston, that number is lower at 65 per cent. Region-wide, that number was about 77 per cent on Friday. Provincewide, the number is 83 per cent.

Current hospitalizations due to COVID-19 in B.C.

4th wave 'no surprise'

On Monday, the province announced plans to require proof of vaccination for anyone who wants to visit concerts, restaurants, nightclubs, or sporting events.

The new "B.C. vaccine cards" are scheduled to be implemented on Sept. 13, with eligible residents only requiring proof of one dose initially. By Oct. 24, two doses will be required.

At a news conference, Health Minister Adrian Dix also announced that B.C. would not be moving to the next stage of its reopening plan on Sept. 7 as previously planned.

Astrid Brousselle, director and professor with the School of Public Administration at the University of Victoria, says the fourth wave of COVID-19 is no surprise after restrictions lifted over the summer, including the reopening of bars and nightclubs, indoor dining, sports and other events.

"These are high-risk activities," Brouselle told CBC On the Island guest host Kathryn Marlow.

"It's a kind of tradeoff because all bets were on vaccination ... the objective of getting a greater amount of [the] population vaccinated rapidly so we can slow transmission of the delta variant."

She said the government's push to get as many people vaccinated as possible is one of the most effective ways to reduce transmission.

B.C.'s COVID-19 vaccination progress

"The vaccine is very effective," she said, but noted that even with two doses of the vaccine people are still at risk of catching and transmitting the disease.

Brousselle warns against victim blaming when it comes to people who have caught COVID-19 and are unvaccinated.

Rather than creating division between those who are vaccinated and those who aren't, she said public health should remain focused on protecting everyone, including those who are unvaccinated and therefore more vulnerable to the virus.

"We need to be very careful. I know that the strategy of government has been to really push on vaccination. That would be one strategy they had, but there are other ways we can use it and also get away from victim blaming and be more equitable in our society," she said.

British Columbians aged 12 and over who have not yet been immunized can register in three ways:

  • By calling 1-833-838-2323. Translators are available in 140 languages.

People can also be immunized at walk-in clinics throughout the province.

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