B.C. detects 150 new COVID-19 cases – most since June 11

More than 56% of B.C.'s total population has had at least one dose of vaccine

B.C. provincial health officer Bonnie Henry announces a new initiative dubbed Vax for B.C., which includes changes to make getting a vaccine jab easier | Photo: B.C. government

B.C. on July 27 reported 150 new COVID-19 cases – the most in a day since June 11, almost seven weeks ago.

Nearly two-thirds of these new cases are in the Interior Health region. 

Government data provided earlier in the day show that, as of July 23, 26.2% of residents in the Interior Health region were unvaccinated. That compares with 19.6% of people province-wide being unvaccinated on that date. Those numbers support health officials' assertions that vaccines work in preventing infections. 

It is not known how many of those British Columbians, who were newly diagnosed with COVID-19 in the past 24 hours, were vaccinated. 

Earlier today, however, B.C. provincial health officer Bonnie Henry revealed statistics that showed the vaccination status for 1,777 people who were diagnosed with COVID-19 between June 15 and July 15. Of those, more than 68% were either unvaccinated or had received one dose within the previous 21 days. Another 28% of those infected had received either one dose of vaccine, or a second dose within seven days. Only 3.8% of the infections in that time period were in people who were fully vaccinated for a period of more than seven days.

Nearly 98.3%, or 146,700, of the 149,259 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 thought to not be infectious.

There are now 44 people sick enough with COVID-19 to be in B.C. hospitals, with 22 of those fighting for their lives in intensive care units. 

The vast majority of the 783 people now known to have active infections have been told to self-isolate.

No one is known to have died from COVID-19 in the past day, keeping the province's death toll from the pandemic at 1,768.

B.C.'s average number of vaccine doses provided on a daily basis has declined slightly from the recent pace of more than 60,000 doses per day. There were 52,996 doses provided to British Columbians in the past day, and another 1,011 doses provided to people who normally reside outside the province. That 1,011 figure may also include vaccinated British Columbians who are known to have died, according to the province.

Overall, 3,742,081 British Columbians are vaccinated, and the province estimates that this is 80.7% of the eligible population, aged older than 12 years. Another 2,887,730 British Columbians are fully vaccinated with two doses each, and the government estimates that this is 62.3% of the eligible population. 

The B.C. government's most recent estimate of the province's total population is 5,147,712, so that means that almost 72.7% of B.C.'s total population has had at least one dose of vaccine, and more than 56% of the province's total population has had two doses.

Henry earlier today announced that the province's vaccination plan would be moving to its next step – one that she calls Vax for B.C. Part of the initiative involves, by mid-August, changing some of the sites where health officials administer vaccines. This could include more mobile vaccine sites, and fewer large vaccination centres, because an ever-smaller fraction of the population will be needing vaccines, as most are already vaccinated. 

Henry was asked if B.C. could follow the path of countries such as France, which are adopting a vaccination pass that residents need to show that they have been vaccinated in order to enter hospitality venues. She said that B.C. could "absolutely" go the route of France and have vaccination passes. 

This contrasts with some of her previous comments about not wanting to mandate that people be vaccinated in order to enter workplaces.

Henry specifically mentioned nightclubs as an example of a venue where vaccination passes might be required.

"If I was running a nightclub, I would want to make sure that my staff are protected," she said. "Yes, we absolutely can say, 'To come in here, you have to be immunized.' That gives people the level of comfort that they are in a safer environment."

As for outbreaks at healthcare facilities, the outbreak at Laurel Place at Surrey Memorial Hospital has been declared over. 

That leaves outbreaks at Holyrood Manor in Maple Ridge, and Nelson Jubilee Manor in Nelson.

gkorstrom@biv.com

@GlenKorstrom