B.C. health officials announced 698 new cases of COVID-19 and one more death on Wednesday, with the 7-day rolling average of new cases reaching its highest point since May 10.
In a written statement, the provincial Ministry of Health said there are currently 5,356 active cases of people infected with the novel coronavirus in B.C.
A total of 139 people are in hospital. Of those, 75 are in intensive care, up from 53 a week ago.
COVID-19 in British Columbia by the numbers
Overall hospitalizations, which typically lag behind spikes and dips in new cases, are up by 29 per cent from last Wednesday, when 107 people were in hospital with the disease.
The provincial death toll from COVID-19 is now 1,802 lives lost out of 161,969 confirmed cases to date.
As of Wednesday, 83.5 per cent of those 12 and older in B.C. have received their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine and 75.4 per cent a second dose.
So far, 7.3 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been administered, including more than 3.4 million second doses.
B.C.'s COVID-19 vaccination progress
Highest number of 1st shots since July
Tuesday saw the highest number of first doses given out in more than a month, as 8,033 people in B.C. received their first shot, the highest since July 13.
It comes as the province provided numbers showing 77 per cent of all hospitalizations from Aug. 10 to 23 were among those not vaccinated, a group that also accounted for two-thirds of all cases between Aug. 17 and 23.
On Tuesday, the province also announced that masks would once again be mandatory in indoor public settings after the province saw a sharp rise in cases over the past few weeks.
Daily COVID-19 vaccination progress in B.C.
During the same news conference, Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry also announced mandatory masks in schools for students in Grade 4 and up, a day after a vaccine card was announced to allow British Columbians to access restaurants, concerts, and "other non-essential spaces."
Last week, the province had only mandated masks for the Interior Health region, where an initial spike in new cases contributed to the province's fourth wave.
However, weeks after targeted restrictions saw new case numbers in the Interior plateau but rise everywhere else, the mask mandate has been extended to the entire province.
The regional breakdown of new cases on Wednesday is as follows:
252 new cases in Interior Health, which has 1,911 total active cases.
203 new cases in Fraser Health, which has 1,294 total active cases.
129 new cases in Vancouver Coastal Health, which has 1,347 total active cases.
69 new cases in Island Health, which has 470 total active cases.
45 new cases in Northern Health, which has 322 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 14 active outbreaks in assisted living and long-term care. Of those, eleven are in Interior Health and two in the Fraser Health region.
Minister emphasizes importance of vaccinations
Health Minister Adrian Dix continued to emphasize the importance of getting vaccinated on Tuesday, after the province's series of announcements.
"I think it's important in this time when we have very much a pandemic of those who aren't vaccinated," said Dix, "that we take every step to improve and increase vaccinations."
COVID-19 cases in B.C. by vaccination status per 100,000 people, August 23
Dix also said the province would be looking at mandating vaccines in settings beyond long-term care.
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.