B.C. records 1,079 new cases of COVID-19 and 5 more deaths over the weekend

B.C. health officials announced 1,079 new cases of COVID-19 and five more deaths over the last three days, an average of 360 new cases a day and nearly double last weekend’s average.

The seven day rolling average of new daily cases (355) is now at its highest since May 25.

In a written statement, the provincial health ministry said there are currently 3,036 active cases of people infected with the novel coronavirus in B.C.

The new cases by day are as follows:

  • Aug. 6-7: 422 new cases
  • Aug. 7-8: 364 new cases
  • Aug. 8-9: 293 new cases

A total of 68 people are in hospital. Of those, 20 are in intensive care up from 19 last week.

Overall hospitalizations, which typically lag behind spikes and dips in new cases, are up by 28 per cent from last Tuesday, when 53 people were in hospital with the disease and up 58 percent from two weeks ago.

Interior Health accounts for more than half the new daily cases. The breakdown by health authority is as follows:

  • 258 new cases in Fraser Health 
    • Total active cases: 586
  • 142 new cases in Vancouver Coastal Health 
    • Total active cases: 387
  • 587 new cases in Interior Health 
    • Total active cases: 1,755
  • 30 new cases in Northern Health 
    • Total active cases: 108
  • 62 new cases in Island Health 
    • Total active cases: 188
  • Zero new cases of people who reside outside of Canada 
    • Total active cases: 12

There are currently seven active outbreaks in the province, all in long-term care homes.

  • Fraser Health: Holyrood Manor and Kin Village West Court.
  • Interior Health: Nelson Jubilee Manor, Kootenay Street Village, Cottonwoods Care Centre, Brookhaven Care Centre.
  • Island Health: Discovery Harbour

Of the five new deaths reported over the weekend, four were in Interior Health and one was in Northern Health.

The provincial death toll from the disease is now 1,777 lives lost out of 151,102 confirmed cases to date.

As of Monday, 82 per cent of those 12 and older in B.C. have received their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine and 70.3 per cent a second dose.

So far, 7,067,738 doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been administered, including 3,257,931 second doses.

Vaccine interval shortened

The interval between a first and second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine is being reduced in B.C. from seven weeks to 28 days.

The move comes after cases continue to rise throughout the province, particularly in the Central Okanagan, which is experiencing a community outbreak, Dr. Bonnie Henry said Monday in a teleconference.

“It is important for all of us in the community to have the best protection possible,” she said.

Notices will be sent out to about 170,000 people in the coming days, asking them to book their second dose appointment.

However, Henry noted a longer interval was still desirable and said for people who do not work in risky environments or live in hot spot areas, waiting six to eight weeks after a first dose may still offer better protection.

Relaxing travel restrictions

Canada will now allow fully vaccinated Americans to enter the country and skip the previously mandatory 14-day quarantine period as part of an easing of COVID-19 restrictions on travel. 

Although they get to skip quarantine, all fully vaccinated travellers entering Canada must still provide proof of a negative COVID-19 molecular test taken within 72 hours of arrival. Air passengers need to take the test within 72 hours of the scheduled departure time of their final direct flight to Canada.

However, as of Monday, vaccinated travellers will get to skip the government-administered post-arrival COVID-19 test — unless they’re randomly selected to take it. 

Within B.C., people who had plans to travel to the Central Okanagan have been asked by the provincial health authority to cancel or reschedule after restrictions were imposed on the region last week due to rising COVID-19 cases. 

The latest spike in cases in the province is concentrated in the Interior health region, which includes Kelowna, West Kelowna, Peachland, Lake Country and Rutland. Restrictions have also been placed on gatherings, nightclubs have been closed and a mask mandate is in effect.

Henry says they have been working hard with communities across the Interior to ensure hospitals keep space available as cases surge.

“This is another one of the reasons we have really put the message out there this is not the time to travel,” she said.

Around 95 per cent of COVID-19 patients in hospital in B.C. as of Friday had not been vaccinated or had received only one dose. None of the patients in intensive care were vaccinated, Health Minister Adrian Dix said.

British Columbians aged 12 and over who have not yet been immunized can register in three ways:

  • Online through the Get Vaccinated portal.
  • By calling 1-833-838-2323. Translators are available in 140 languages.
  • In person at any Service B.C. location.

People can also be immunized at walk-in clinics throughout the province.

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