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B.C.'s COVID-19 cases spike as vaccinations dwindle

COVID-19 hospitalizations rise to highest level since June
A hospital patient is hooked up to an intravenous machine | Photo: Getty Images

As B.C. grapples with more people actively infected with COVID-19 than the province has seen in more than three months, new vaccinations province-wide have hit a more than five-month low.

B.C. has a net total of 402 additional people actively battling COVID-19 infections than it had yesterday, for a total of 5,982 – the most since May 11. Fuelling that rise was 689 new cases detected in the past 24 hours. 

The recent steady rise in overall cases is generating more serious infections. A net total of 14 more COVID-19 patients are in B.C. hospitals today, compared to yesterday, for a total of 121 – the highest number since June 18. Of those, the number in intensive care units (ICUs) has risen by three in the past day, to 56 – the highest total since June 8.

Two additional people are known to have died from the virus in the past day, raising the province's pandemic death toll to 1,784.

Health officials have said that most new cases in recent weeks have been the highly infectious Delta variant. 

B.C. is ahead of many jurisdictions in its vaccination campaign. That success means that the number of doses provided on a daily basis has declined to a relative trickle, which has allowed all of the province's clinics to accept walk-in traffic, and not require appointments, whenever the clinics are open. 

Health officials provided 15,627 jabs in arms in the past 24 hours – the lowest daily total since March 16. Of the new doses, 4,356 went to unvaccinated people, while the remaining 11,271 went as needed second doses. 

Of the 3,842,302 B.C. residents who have received at least one dose of vaccine, 89.3%, or 3,431,103 are fully vaccinated. 

The B.C. government estimated in February that the province's total population is 5,147,712, so that means that more than 74.6% of B.C.'s total population has had at least one dose of vaccine, and nearly 66.7% of the province's total population has had two doses.

The government's math holds that 82.9% of the province's eligible population, aged 12 years and older, has been vaccinated at least once, with 74% of eligible people being fully vaccinated. 

The B.C. government has never provided immediate breakdowns of how many new infections are in people who are unvaccinated. Instead, it provides this data weeks later. 

The trend earlier this summer was clear that it is the unvaccinated who have been fuelling new infections, and hospitalizations.

The government's most recent breakdown of infections by vaccination status included cases detected between June 24 and July 24. That data show that of the 1,683 cases detected in that time frame, 1,073, or 63.8%, were in people who were either unvaccinated, or who had had their first vaccine dose within three weeks of first exhibiting symptoms.

Another 511 people, or 30.4%, had either received one dose of vaccine, or had not yet gone one week after having received a second dose. Only 99 cases, or 5.9% of those infections, were in people who had received two doses of vaccine and gone one week after that needed second dose before symptoms first started.

Within the June 24 through July 24 timeframe, only 7.4%, or 10 of 136 people in hospital with COVID-19, had been fully vaccinated for more than seven days when symptoms first appeared. One of the 18 deaths in that time period, or 5.6%, were in people who had been fully vaccinated for more than seven days before symptoms first appeared.

More than 95.2%, or 150,377, of the 158,256 people known to have contracted COVID-19 in B.C. are considered by the province to have recovered because they have gone 10 days after first feeling symptoms, and are therefore not thought to be infectious. The province does not wait a full 14-day incubation period to make this determination, provincial health officer Bonnie Henry told Glacier Media earlier this summer. 

One new outbreak at a seniors' living facility is at Chilliwack's Heritage Village. The outbreak at the seniors' facility Discovery Harbour, in Campbell River, has been declared over.

The other 10 active outbreaks at seniors' homes include: 
• Nicola Meadows in Merritt;
• Village at Mill Creek (second floor) in Kelowna;
• Hawthorn Park in Kelowna;
• David Lloyd Jones long-term care home in Kelowna;
• Evergreen Baptist Care Society in White Rock;
• KinVillage West Court in South Delta;
• Kootenay Street Village in Cranbrook;
• Cottonwoods Care Centre in Kelowna;
• Brookhaven Care Centre in West Kelowna; and
• Nelson Jubilee Manor in Nelson.

The Interior Health region remains disproportionately responsible for a large number of new and active COVID-19 cases. Its proportion of new cases is falling, however, as the proportion of cases in the Lower Mainland picks up. 

Here is a breakdown of where the 689 new COVID-19 infections are in B.C.:
• 219 in Fraser Health (31.7%);
• 123 in Vancouver Coastal Health (17.9%);
• 278 in Interior Health (40.3%);
• 27 in Northern Health (3.9%); and
• 42 in Island Health (6.1%).

The 5,982 active infections, include: 
• 1,112 in Fraser Health (18.6%);
• 908 in Vancouver Coastal Health (15.2%);
• 3,368 in Interior Health (56.3%);
• 239 in Northern Health (4%);
• 346 in Island Health (5.8%); and
• nine people who normally reside outside B.C.

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