COVID-19 update: B.C. adds 7 deaths, 743 new cases as province marks vaccination milestone
The B.C. government announced 743 new cases of COVID-19 and seven coronavirus-related deaths Friday, as the province marked a new vaccination milestone.
Four out of five eligible British Columbians – or 3,709,554 people age 12 and up – have now received both doses of COVID-19 vaccine, according to the Ministry of Health. Another 344,184 people have had their first shot.
The unvaccinated population continues to make up the majority of COVID-19 infections and hospitalizations, despite representing less than 22 per cent of the province, including young children who are currently ineligible for any of the approved vaccines.
Between Sept. 16 and 22, the unvaccinated caught COVID-19 at a rate of 292.8 per 100,000 people, compared to 90.8 among the partially vaccinated and just 28.3 among the fully vaccinated.
During the same time period, the unvaccinated were hospitalized at a rate of 46.6 per 100,000 after catching COVID-19, compared to 14.1 among the partially vaccinated and 1.8 among the fully vaccinated.
"After factoring for age, people not vaccinated are 25.9 times more likely to be hospitalized than those fully vaccinated," the Ministry of Health said in a news release.
Friday's update left B.C.'s seven-day average for new cases at 650 per day, and the seven-day average for related deaths at 4.86 per day.
A total of 182,541 infections and 1,922 deaths have been recorded across the province since the start of the pandemic.
Nearly two-thirds of the latest cases came from the Fraser Health and Interior Health regions, though the Northern Health region once again saw the highest number of infections per capita.
Northern Health recorded 37.3 cases per 100,000 residents, compared to 21.4 in Interior Health, 15.3 in Fraser Health, 9.3 in Vancouver Coastal Health and 6.6 in Island Health.
COVID-19 hospitalizations decreased to 319, which includes 149 infectious patients in intensive care. CTV News reported this week that the Ministry of Health removes ICU patients from the provincial total once they are no longer considered infectious, even though they sometimes remain in treatment for months.
Earlier on Friday, after repeated requests from media and mounting criticism from health researchers, officials revealed there are 152 additional patients who remain in hospital after being removed from the total. The government did not promise to continue providing that information on a recurring basis.
"(Those patients) are included in reports on overall hospital capacity and critical-care capacity. These cases do not directly contribute to the epidemiological picture of the pandemic, but importantly, make a significant contribution to public awareness and understanding of hospitals’ readiness to provide care," the Ministry of Health said in a statement.
Officials had no new outbreaks to declare in B.C.'s health-care system on Friday, and said the one at Kootenay Boundary Regional Hospital has ended.