COVID-19 update: B.C.'s active cases, seven-day average reach three-month low
The number of active COVID-19 cases across British Columbia reached a three-month low of 3,047 on Tuesday, as officials unveiled their plans for vaccinating children as young as five.
The province's seven-day average for coronavirus cases, which has been trending downward for almost two weeks, also dropped to a three-month low of 381 per day.
The last time B.C.'s active case count and seven-day average were that low was Aug. 9, when they sat at 3,306 and 355, respectively.
The Ministry of Health also announced 324 new cases and one related death Tuesday, bringing the provincial totals to 216,012 infections and 2,304 related fatalities since the start of the pandemic.
The latest person to die in relation to COVID-19 lived in B.C.'s Northern Health region.
The number of infectious COVID-19 patients in hospital increased slightly to 345, while the number in intensive care remained steady at 115.
Unvaccinated British Columbians still represent the majority of cases and hospitalizations, despite making up less than 19 per cent of the provincial population, including those under the age of 12 who were just recently made eligible for vaccination and have yet to receive their shots.
Between Nov. 15 and 21, the unvaccinated made up 54.3 per cent of B.C.'s 2,618 cases. They also made up 61.7 per cent of the province's 248 hospitalizations recorded between Nov. 8 and 21.
On Tuesday afternoon, health officials shared more information on how they'll be distributing shots to children between the ages of five and 11, confirming the government will begin contacting families to make appointments next week.
Parents still have to register their children in order to receive an invitation, however. Officials said 91,000 of the approximately 360,000 kids in that age group have already been entered into the system.
Unlike previous vaccine rollouts, officials said children between five and 11 will need to make an appointment for their shots, which will be distributed eight weeks apart.
The dose they will be receiving is smaller than those given to adults and teenagers – 10 milligrams instead of 30 – which was determined to build just as strong an immune response in that age group.
Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry noted that's not because of their comparably small size, but "because our immune systems when we're younger are just that much more responsive."