COVID-19 update: B.C. adds 698 cases, 1 related death
B.C. health officials announced 698 new cases of COVID-19 and one related death on Wednesday, hours after another province-wide mask mandate came into effect.
The update, provided in a written statement from the Ministry of Health, pushed B.C.'s seven-day average for new coronavirus infections to 629 per day, the highest its been since May 10.
About two-thirds of the latest cases came from the Interior Health and Fraser Health regions, compared to 18 per cent that were identified in the Vancouver Coastal Health region. The remaining 16 per cent came from the Island Health and Northern Health regions.
Another 702 people also recovered from COVID-19, causing B.C.'s active caseload to decrease slightly to 5,356. The number of coronavirus patients in hospital increased by one, to 139, while the number in intensive care decreased by three, to 75.
The Ministry of Health also announced two new care home outbreaks, at Brock Fahrini in Vancouver and Spring Valley Care Centre in Kelowna. There are now 14 active outbreaks in B.C.'s health-care system, 11 of which are located in the Interior Health region.
On top of the renewed mask mandate, which applies to most indoor public spaces, the B.C. government announced this week that proof of vaccination will soon be required to access movie theatres, live sporting events and other discretionary activities and services.
The decision appears to have prompted thousands of residents to get their shots. Officials said 19,084 people registered for vaccination on Monday and Tuesday, a 192 per cent increase over the same days last week.
"Getting vaccinated is the most important step we can all take to move out of this pandemic, and the momentum this week is positive news," Health Minister Adrian Dix said in a statement Wednesday. "But there's more work to do, and I encourage everyone to make the best choice to protect themselves, their loved ones and their community - get vaccinated."
The temporary vaccine passport system is scheduled to start being phased in on Sept. 13 and remain in place until the end of January 2022, at the earliest.
As of a few short months ago, health officials anticipated that life in B.C. could be almost back to normal by early September, but the highly contagious Delta COVID-19 variant has upended the province's progress in containing the spread of the disease.
But provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry has stressed that being fully vaccinated still offers strong protection against the variant. According to numbers provided by the Ministry of Health, 68 per cent of the 4,338 infections reported between Aug. 10 and 23 involved people who weren't vaccinated, and another 10 per cent involved people who were only partially vaccinated.
Similarly, 77 per cent of COVID-19 patients hospitalized between Aug. 17 and 23 were unvaccinated and eight per cent were only partially vaccinated.
So far, just over 83 per cent of B.C. residents eligible for COVID-19 vaccination have received at least one shot, while 75 per cent have received both. A total of 7,369,741 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna and AstraZeneca vaccines have been administered across the province.