B.C. adds 724 cases of COVID-19, 2 deaths
B.C.'s Ministry of Health announced 724 new cases of COVID-19 on Thursday, as well as two related deaths from the disease.
The latest cases bring B.C.'s rolling seven-day average to 634, a slight increase from Wednesday.
There are currently 5,640 active cases of COVID-19 in B.C. Of those, 149 people are battling the coronavirus in hospital, including 83 who are in intensive care.
Since the start of the pandemic, there have been 162,693 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in B.C. and 1,804 deaths.
Of the new infections added Thursday, 271 were in the Interior Health region, which has been the focal point of B.C.'s Delta-variant-driven fourth wave.
Fraser Health saw 185 new cases on Thursday, Vancouver Coastal Health added 142, Island Health saw 64 and Northern Health 62.
The update comes less than 48 hours after B.C. re-imposed a province-wide mask mandate for indoor public spaces as a result of the ongoing surge in infections.
The 724 new cases added Thursday matches the number B.C. saw on Saturday, Aug. 21. Before that, the last time the province saw more than 724 cases was May 1, when 835 new infections were recorded.
Earlier this week, B.C. officials announced plans to require proof of vaccination against COVID-19 for admission to certain non-essential events and businesses.
Beginning on Sept. 13, B.C. residents will be required to show proof that they have received at least a first dose of vaccine to dine at restaurants, attend ticketed sporting events, go to the movies or do a variety of other discretionary activities.
By Oct. 24, residents will be required to show proof that they are fully vaccinated before entering such venues and events.
The requirement has prompted a backlash from some B.C. businesses, who say they plan to refuse to ask people about their vaccination status as a condition for entry.
It has also prompted a significant increase in vaccine registrations and bookings in the province, according to the Ministry of Health.
The vast majority of infections and hospitalizations due to COVID-19 in B.C. in recent weeks have been among people who are not fully vaccinated.
According to the Ministry of Health, almost 71 per cent of the cases recorded from Aug. 18 to 24 were among unvaccinated people, a rate of 199.5 infections per 100,000 unvaccinated individuals.
During the same period, fully vaccinated people made up 17.5 per cent of cases and saw 24.6 cases per 100,000.
Fully vaccinated people far outnumber the unvaccinated in B.C. As of Thursday, the province had administered first doses to 83.7 per cent of eligible residents ages 12 and older, and 75.6 per cent of people in that age group had received a second dose.