Serious COVID-19 infections in B.C. reach multi-month highs

Interior Health region overwhelmingly remains the province's COVID-19 hot spot.

Health officials are encouraging all eligible British Columbians to get vaccinated | Getty Images

Serious COVID-19 infections in B.C. continued their steady rise on August 20, and reached new multi-month highs.

There are now 129 COVID-19 patients in B.C. hospitals today, which is eight more than yesterday. Of those, 59 are in intensive care units (ICUs), which is three additional patients, compared with yesterday. 

Both of those metrics are the highest that they have been since June. 

Fuelling the serious infections are daily case counts that are trending upward. Health officials detected another 663 cases in the past 24 hours. 

On a per-capita basis, the Interior Health region is far and away the province's biggest hot spot.

Provincial health officer Bonnie Henry announced that restrictions on gatherings and fitness facilities, which had been in effect for the Central Okanagan part of that health region, are now going to be in effect for the entire Interior Health region

Glacier Media crunched today's data for new and active COVID-19 infections in each of the province's five health regions. 

The result for the number of new infections for each 10,000 residents (with total new cases in brackets) was:
• 0.9 in Fraser Health (162);
• 1.1 in Vancouver Coastal Health (135);
• 3.7 in Interior Health (274);
• 1.3 in Northern Health (38); and
• 0.6 in Island Health (54).

Overall, B.C. saw 1.3 new infections for each 10,000 residents.

The Interior Health region similarly has an outsized portion of the province's active COVID-19 infections. 

The result for the number of people fighting active infections for each 10,000 residents (with total new cases in brackets) was:
• 6.5 in Fraser Health (1,169);
• 8.1 in Vancouver Coastal Health (1,018);
• 47.2 in Interior Health (3,504);
• 8.5 in Northern Health (254); and
• 4.6 in Island Health (391).

There remain nine people who normally reside outside B.C. who are actively infected. 

Overall, B.C. has 12.8 active infections for each 10,000 residents.

Health officials know of one person who died from COVID-19 in the past day. That brings the province's pandemic death toll to 1,785.

More than 94.8%, or 150,657, of the 158,919 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.

Health officials provided 15,286 jabs in arms in the past 24 hours – the lowest daily total since March 12. Of the new doses, 4,226 went to unvaccinated people, while the remaining 11,060 went as needed second doses. 

Of the 3,846,528 B.C. residents who have received at least one dose of vaccine, 89.5%, or 3,442,163 are fully vaccinated. 

The B.C. government estimated in February that the province's total population is 5,147,712, so that means that 74.7% of B.C.'s total population has had at least one dose of vaccine, and 66.9% of the province's total population has had two doses.

The government's math holds that 83% of the province's eligible population, aged 12 years and older, has been vaccinated at least once, with 74.3% 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. 

B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix said that his government will start being prompter in relaying those statistics, starting on August 23.

There are no new outbreaks at seniors' living facilities, nor are any existing outbreaks declared to be over. 

That means there remain 11 such outbreaks, at:
• Heritage Village in Chilliwack;
• 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.

gkorstrom@biv.com

@GlenKorstrom