COVID-19 cases decline, but serious infections rise in B.C.

Unvaccinated people continue to drive infections and hospitalizations

Vaccination centres, such as this one in Coquitlam, are set up across B.C. | Chung Chow

B.C.'s number of newly detected COVID-19 cases fell for the third consecutive day on August 30, but serious infections continue to soar, and have hit multi-month highs. 

There are now 176 hospital patients in the province battling active infections, with 91 of those in intensive care units (ICUs). The last time there were more people with COVID-19 in B.C. hospitals was on June 9, when there were 195. ICUs have not been more filled with COVID-19 patients since May 26, when there were 97.

Provincial health officials detected 1,853 new COVID-19 infections in the three days since the last data update. That includes 769 people on August 28, 581 on August 29, and 503 in the past 24 hours. 

Unvaccinated individuals have been responsible for most new infections. 

The most recent government data on vaccination status noted that between August 20 and 26, people not fully vaccinated accounted for 81.7% of cases and 85.8% of hospitalizations. 

The 4,565 cases in the week ended August 25 included:
• 3,255 (71.3%) unvaccinated;
• 477 (10.4%) partially vaccinated; and
• 833 (18.2%) fully vaccinated.

Of the 217 hospitalizations in the two weeks ended August 26, there were:
• 172 not vaccinated (79.3%);
• 14 partially vaccinated (6.5%); and
• 31 fully vaccinated (14.3%).

Overall active infections rose by 261 in the past three days, to 5,918.

Seven additional people lost their lives while struggling with COVID-19, raising the province's death toll from the pandemic to 1,814.

New vaccinations remain on the decline, with 44,415 doses provided to British Columbians in the past three days: 17,169 to unvaccinated people, and 27,246 as needed second doses. 

Of the 3,904,121 B.C. residents who have received at least one dose of vaccine, more than 90.7%, or 3,541,731, are fully vaccinated. 

The B.C. government estimated in July that the province's total population is 5,147,712, so that means that more than 75.8% of B.C.'s total population has had at least one dose of vaccine, and more than 68.8% of the province's total population has had two doses.

The government's math holds that 84.2% of the province's eligible population, aged 12 years and older, has been vaccinated at least once, with 76.4% of eligible people being fully vaccinated. 

Health Minister Adrian Dix said at an August 30 press conference that he expects 85% of eligible British Columbians to have had at least one dose of vaccine on Labour Day, which is one week away.

Glacier Media crunched the numbers for how many of the 1,853 cases identified in the past three days 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:
• 3 in Fraser Health (531);
• 2.4 in Vancouver Coastal Health (295);
• 9.5 in Interior Health (707);
• 4.7 in Northern Health (142); and
• 2.1 in Island Health (178).

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

The result by health region for the 5,918 people fighting active infections, for each 10,000 residents (with total new cases in brackets), was:
• 7.6 in Fraser Health (1,371);
• 8.6 in Vancouver Coastal Health (1,076);
• 32.7 in Interior Health (2,424);
• 15.1 in Northern Health (453); and
• 6.9 in Island Health (587).

There are four new healthcare facility outbreaks, at:
• Chilliwack General Hospital;
• Fort St. John Hospital;
• Rose Woods Village in Trail; and
• Sunset Lodge in Victoria.

In total, there are 18 active outbreaks in healthcare facilities, or seniors' homes.

gkorstrom@biv.com

@GlenKorstrom