New cases plateau in the Interior, as B.C. records 724 new cases of COVID-19, 2 more deaths

·3 min read
Two men wear surgical masks while walking on Bernard Avenue of Kelowna, B.C. (Winston Szeto/CBC - image credit)
Two men wear surgical masks while walking on Bernard Avenue of Kelowna, B.C. (Winston Szeto/CBC - image credit)

B.C. health officials announced 724 new cases of COVID-19 and two more deaths on Thursday.

In a written statement, the provincial Ministry of Health said there are currently 5,640 active cases of people infected with the novel coronavirus in B.C.

A total of 149 people are in hospital. Of those, 83 are in intensive care, up from 56 a week ago.

Overall hospitalizations, which typically lag behind spikes and dips in new cases, are up by 23 per cent from last Thursday, when 121 people were in hospital with the disease.

The provincial death toll from COVID-19 is now 1,804 lives lost. There have been 162,693 confirmed cases to date.

The regional breakdown of new cases on Thursday is as follows:

  • 271 new cases in Interior Health, which has 2,014 total active cases.

  • 185 new cases in Fraser Health, which has 1,319 total active cases.

  • 142 new cases in Vancouver Coastal Health, which has 1,432 total active cases.

  • 64 new cases in Island Health, which has 502 total active cases.

  • 62 new cases in Northern Health, which has 361 total active cases.

  • There are no new cases among people who reside outside of Canada, a group which has 12 total active cases.

There are a total of 13 active outbreaks in assisted living and long-term care. Of those, one is in Vancouver Coastal Health, 11 are in Interior Health and one is in the Fraser Health region. There is one outbreak in acute care, at the Peace Arch Hospital in the Fraser Health region.

As of Thursday 83.7 per cent of those 12 and older in B.C. have received their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine and 75.6 per cent a second dose.

So far, 7,390,103 doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been administered, including 3,504,402 second doses.

High vaccine uptake after card announcement

On Wednesday, the province said there was a spike in new vaccine registrations after Monday's announcement that a vaccine card would soon be necessary to access restaurants, concerts and other recreational spaces.

A total of 9,094 people in B.C. received their first shot Wednesday, the highest number since July 13.

Since Monday, the number of people registering for the vaccination program or booking appointments each day has jumped by as much as 201 per cent compared to a week earlier, according to a statement from the province.

In the last two days, more than two per cent of all unvaccinated eligible adults in B.C. have received a first shot.

The biggest jumps in registration, the government says, have been in people under the age of 40. People in that age group made up a significant portion of cases at the start of the province's fourth wave.

The province says on Monday and Tuesday alone, 12,904 people under the age of 40 have registered and 11,301 have booked appointments, more than doubling last week's numbers.

Masks now mandatory provincewide

Wednesday was also the first day of the reintroduced mask mandate provincewide, a week after the public health measure had been introduced in the Interior Health region.

Masks will also be mandatory in schools for kids in grades 4-12, and the province will no longer be moving to Stage 4 of reopening, as had been planned for Sept. 7.

Vaccines, however, will not be mandatory in schools or universities.

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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