B.C. passes 200,000 COVID-19 infections

Nearly 96.3% of all those known to be infected in B.C. are deemed recovered

Hospital staff take care of a patient | Photo: Getty Images / Reza Estakhrian

B.C. has recorded more than 200,000 COVID-19 infections, since the first case was detected in the province in late-January, 2020 – a man in his 40s who had recently returned from Wuhan, China.

Of the 200,249 people known to have been infected in the province with the SARS-CoV-2 virus, which causes COVID-19, nearly 96.3%, or 192,819 are deemed to have recovered, according to the government. 

The vast majority of the 4,965 people actively battling infections have been told to self-isolate, although 377 are in hospital, with 136 of those in intensive care units. Four additional people – all in the Northern Health region – have died overnight from COVID-19, raising the province's pandemic death toll to 2,096.

Government data does not account for 369 people who were counted as infected but are not counted as recovered, dead or actively battling infections. Glacier Media asked the B.C. Ministry of Health about the discrepancy but has not yet received an answer.

Another 715 people were newly diagnosed as infected in the past 24 hours, with that being the fourth highest total for a 24-hour period so far this month. 

Northern Health is by far the hardest hit region in B.C., in part because the vaccination rate is lower in that area.

Glacier Media's broke down the 715 new infections by health region, for each 10,000 residents (with total new cases in brackets).
• 1.6 in Fraser Health (285);
• 0.5 in Vancouver Coastal Health (60);
• 1.8 in Interior Health (137);
• 5.7 in Northern Health (172); and
• 0.7 in Island Health (61).

There were no new infections among people who normally do not reside in Canada.

The result by health region, for the 4,965 people fighting active infections, for each 10,000 residents (with total new cases in brackets) is:
• 11 in Fraser Health (1,971);
•  5.5 in Vancouver Coastal Health (686);
•  10.9 in Interior Health (808);
•  31.2 in Northern Health (937); and
•  5.9 in Island Health (504).

There are 59 active infections in the province in people who normally reside outside B.C. 

Vaccinations in the general population have slowed as the vast majority of people are already vaccinated.

Health officials administered initial vaccine doses to 3,078 British Columbians in the past day, as well as second doses of vaccine to 7,006 people. 

Across B.C., 89.4% of eligible adults older than 12 have had at least one dose of vaccine, with 83.8% of eligible people having had two doses, according to the B.C. government.

Of the 4,141,865 B.C. residents who have received one dose of vaccine since mid-December, 2020, 93.7%, or 3,883,585, are fully vaccinated, with two doses. Health Minister Adrian Dix said October 19 that about 60,000 residents, who are either immunocompromised or who live in seniors' living facilities, have received three doses of vaccine.

The B.C. government estimated in July that the province's total population is 5,147,712, so Glacier Media's calculation is that almost 80.5% of B.C.'s total population has had at least one dose of vaccine, and 75.4% of the province's total population has had two doses.

The small slice of the population that is not vaccinated is responsible for the lion's share of cases, hospitalizations and deaths. 

Health Minister Adrian Dix on October 21 tweeted out data otherwise unavailable that show 83.8% of the 136 individuals in B.C. ICUs are unvaccinated. Another 2.2% of people in those wards are partially vaccinated, and 14% of those people are fully vaccinated.

When adjusted for age, in the week up to October 19, there were 308.7 people newly infected for each 100,000 unvaccinated British Columbians. In that same time period, there were only 95.6 people newly infected for each 100,000 partially vaccinated British Columbians, and only 34.5 people newly infected for each 100,000 fully vaccinated British Columbians. 

To do a similar accounting, but for hospitalizations, the value of vaccines is even more clear.

When adjusted for age, in the two weeks up to October 19, there were 53.9 people newly hospitalized for each 100,000 unvaccinated British Columbians. In that same time period, there were only 11 people newly hospitalized for each 100,000 partially vaccinated British Columbians, and only 2.4 people newly hospitalized for each 100,000 fully vaccinated British Columbians. 

Two new health-care facility outbreaks have been detected at Deni House in Williams Lake, and at Bulkley Valley District Hospital in Smithers, raising the number of such outbreaks in the province to 26. No existing health-care facility outbreaks have been newly declared to be over. •