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B.C. records 820 new COVID-19 cases, nine deaths

ICU patient totals rise in the 11th straight B.C. COVID-19 data update
VGH - Jim Pattison pavilion - cc
Vancouver General Hospital's Jim Pattison pavilion building was completed in 1991

Despite the vast majority of British Columbians being vaccinated against COVID-19, the pandemic continues to spread, with serious infections steadily on the rise.

There are now 281 people in B.C. hospitals with the disease – the highest number since May 28. Of those, 135 are in intensive care units (ICUs) in those hospitals – the highest number since May 14.

This is the eleventh consecutive government data update that shows a rise in the number of COVID-19 patients in B.C. ICUs. The total number of active infections rose by 256 in the past day to 5,850.

B.C. Minister of Health Adrian Dix yesterday released statistics showing that 85% of the people then in B.C. ICUs were unvaccinated, with another 7.7% being partially vaccinated. Only 6.9% were fully vaccinated, according to his data. This is despite 85.5% of the B.C.'s eligible population being partially vaccinated, and 78% of B.C.'s eligible population being fully vaccinated. 

New infections are being detected at a steady pace, with an average of 669 new cases in each of the seven days up until yesterday. Another 820 infections were detected in the past 24 hours, bringing the total to 173,158 COVID-19 cases since the first case was detected in the province in late January, 2020.

Of those, more than 95.3%, or 165,027 of those infected in B.C. are deemed by the province to have recovered because they have gone 10 days after first feeling symptoms, and are therefore not thought to be infectious.

Another nine people lost their lives to the disease in the past day, raising B.C.'s pandemic death toll to 1,856.

By health region, the deaths included:
• three in Vancouver Coastal Health;
• three in Interior Health;
• two in Northern Health; and 
• one in Island Health.

Older people are suffering the worst health outcomes.  In the July 30 through August 26 time period, the age group that suffered the highest number of COVID-19 deaths in B.C. was the one for people aged 80 through 89, as there were 16 deaths. The next highest age category for deaths in that time frame was for people aged 70 through 79, as there were seven deaths. 

Because older people are at a greater risk of succumbing to the disease, outbreaks at seniors' living facilities are particularly concerning. No new such outbreaks were detected in the past day, leaving B.C. with 22 of those outbreaks, including some that are more broadly in healthcare facilities.

B.C. health officials have slowed down their frequency of providing vaccine jabs because so many British Columbians already have had two jabs, and are so far considered to be fully vaccinated. 

In the past 24 hours, health officials administered 6,632 doses of vaccine to previously unvaccinated British Columbians. Another 6,436 jabs went to people as needed second doses

Of the 3,962,256 B.C. residents who have received one dose of vaccine, more than 91.2%, or 3,614,503 are fully vaccinated. 

The B.C. government estimated in July that the province's total population is 5,147,712, so Glacier Media's calculation is that 77% of B.C.'s total population has had at least one dose of vaccine, and 70.2% of the province's total population has had two doses.

In an effort to increase the incentive for people to get vaccinated, B.C. is implementing a vaccine-card system starting September 13. Individuals who have their personal health number, birth date, and the date of one of their vaccine doses, are asked to sign into that system so they can enter those details and get proof of their vaccination status, and a QR code. 

British Columbians will then need to show proof of having had at least one dose of vaccine in order to dine at restaurants, or enter venues such as bars, nightclubs, casinos and sports stadia. 

By October 24, British Columbians will need to have gone seven days following their second vaccine jab in order to enter those venues.

Starting today, B.C. business representatives, or others, are able to download a government app for iPhones that scans the barcodes to immediately identify if the potential patron has had one, two or zero doses of vaccine. 

Dix said that an app will be added to the Google Play store soon. 

Glacier Media crunched the numbers for how many of the 820 cases identified in the past day were in each of the province's health regions. The result for the number of new infections for each 10,000 residents (with total new cases in brackets) was:
• 1.5 in Fraser Health (264);
• 0.9 in Vancouver Coastal Health (112);
• 3.4 in Interior Health (253);
• 3.4 in Northern Health (101); and
• 1.1 in Island Health (539).

No new cases were in people who normally reside outside B.C.

The result by health region for the 5,850 people fighting active infections for each 10,000 residents (with total new cases in brackets) was:
• 9.7 in Fraser Health (1,750);
• 7.5 in Vancouver Coastal Health (938);
• 24.6 in Interior Health (1,828);
• 26.1 in Northern Health (782); and
• 6.3 in Island Health (539).

The active case counts include 13 people who normally live outside B.C.

Provincial health officer Bonnie Henry last week called the situation a "pandemic of the unvaccinated."

This is because during the week of September 2 through 8, people not fully vaccinated accounted for 78.4% of new cases. Between August 26 and September 8, not fully vaccinated individuals accounted for 86.6% of hospitalizations, government data show.

The 4,661 cases in the week ended September 8 included:
• 3,252 (69.8%) unvaccinated;
• 402 (8.6%) partially vaccinated; and
• 1,007 (21.6%) fully vaccinated.

Of the 358 hospitalizations in the two weeks ended September 8, there were:
• 292 not vaccinated (81.6%);
• 18 partially vaccinated (5%); and
• 48 fully vaccinated (13.4%).

These numbers define unvaccinated as a person who either has not had a jab, or has not gone a full three weeks after a first dose. Partially vaccinated means a person who has had only one jab, or has not gone a full two weeks after the second dose. Fully vaccinated means a person who has gone two or more weeks after receiving a second dose of vaccine. 

gkorstrom@biv.com

@GlenKorstrom