B.C. health officials announced 655 new cases of COVID-19 and two more deaths on Tuesday.
In a written statement, the health ministry said there are currently 6,045 active cases of people infected with the novel coronavirus in B.C.
A total of 187 people are in hospital, with 103 in intensive care. This is the highest number of people in critical care in B.C. since May 22.
COVID-19 in British Columbia by the numbers
Overall hospitalizations, which typically lag behind spikes and dips in new cases, are up by 35 per cent from last Tuesday, when 138 people were in hospital with the disease.
The number of patients in intensive care is up by about 32 per cent from 78 a week ago.
The provincial death toll from the disease is now 1,816 lives lost out of 166,068 confirmed cases to date. Both deaths recorded on Tuesday were in the Island Health region.
The regional breakdown of new cases is as follows:
242 new cases in Interior Health, which has 2,495 active cases.
186 new cases in Fraser Health, which has 1,418 active cases.
99 new cases in Vancouver Coastal Health, which has 1,026 active cases.
68 new cases in Island Health, which has 620 active cases.
60 new cases in Northern Health, which has 479 active cases.
No new cases of people who reside outside of Canada, a group that has seven active cases.
So far, 7.4 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been administered, including 3.5 million second doses. From the period of Aug. 16 to 29, 80.6 per cent of all hospitalizations were seen among those who have not received a dose of vaccine.
COVID-19 infections in B.C. by vaccination status, adjusted by population
Long-term care outbreak on Vancouver Island
There are 19 active COVID-19 outbreaks in B.C., including one at the Sunset Lodge long-term care home in Victoria. As of Tuesday morning, 11 staff and 13 residents had been diagnosed with COVID-19.
Island Health medical health officer Dr. Mike Benusic said the coronavirus that causes the disease was first detected in an asymptomatic staff member.
He says most of the cases are in fully vaccinated people, but symptoms are mild.
B.C.'s COVID-19 vaccination progress
"Those who are vaccinated are at lower risk of acquiring the delta variant, but not zero risk," Benusic told CBC's On The Island guest host Kathryn Marlow on Tuesday.
Benusic said there are protocols in place in long-term care homes on Vancouver Island, but there will continue to be spread in communities, long-term care, assisted living and other facilities.
But if people are experiencing mild symptoms, he said, that's OK.
"If we do see a situation where we have many people having severe disease then, yeah, we have to think what kind of additional measures do we have to put in place to make sure we're reducing severe harm," he added.
Daily COVID-19 vaccination progress in B.C.
COVID-19 booster shots
The province says it is prepared to give out COVID-19 booster shots should they be required and recommended by Health Canada.
Health Minister Adrian Dix said the booster shot is something health officials have been "preparing now for some time" both within and beyond the long-term care sector, and for those who are immuno-compromised.
At a media conference on Tuesday, Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said the province is putting plans in place over the next week to provide third doses to certain immunocompromised people.
COVID-19 hospitalizations per 100k people in B.C. by vaccine status, July 30-August 26
Henry also said the province would potentially look at providing third doses to those in long-term care homes around October, to coincide with influenza vaccinations.
At the same media conference, Henry released modelling that showed the province does not expect case counts to drop rapidly before the end of September.
"This has become a pandemic that is spreading rapidly among pockets of people who are unvaccinated," she said, emphasizing the importance of immunization.
More than 76 per cent of eligible British Columbians are now fully vaccinated, while about 84 per cent have received their first dose only.
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.