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COVID-19 metrics in B.C. keep rising, but no new deaths

Hospitalizations and ICU patient counts up to new highs since May.
COVID vaccination
Health officials administer a COVID-19 vaccine

In what is getting to be an all-too-familiar refrain: new COVID-19 cases continue to soar, hospitalizations and intensive-care unit (ICU) patient counts are rising to new months-highs, and the total number of those actively battling for their lives with infections is up. 

Some good news, however, is that no new deaths were reported, leaving B.C.'s pandemic death toll at 1,842.

The unvaccinated are the ones largely spreading the disease, and those who are paying the dearest price are older adults. 

The government does not break down new daily data by age or by vaccination status, but rather by geography. This has been the case all through the pandemic. 

Today's news is that health officials detected 814 new people infected with the SARS-CoV-2 virus, which causes COVID-19.

That is 281 more people than yesterday, and it raises the provincial total, since the first case was detected in late January, 2020, to 171,564.

Of those, more than 95.4%, or 163,793 of those infected in B.C. are deemed by the province to have recovered because they have gone 10 days after first feeling symptoms, and are therefore not thought to be infectious.

There are now 5,550 people actively battling infections – up 85 from yesterday.

Hospitalizations are up by six, compared with yesterday, to 261 – the highest number since May 28. Of those, 129 are in ICUs. Those wards have not been more filled with COVID-19 patients since May 17.

Health officials have urged people, almost to the point of exasperation, to get vaccinated. 

The vast majority of British Columbians have done so. Provincial figures show that 85.2% of British Columbians eligible to be vaccinated, and older than 12 years, have had one dose of vaccine, and 77.7% of that population is fully vaccinated. 

The B.C. government estimated in July that the province's total population is 5,147,712, so Glacier Media's calculation is that 76.7% of B.C.'s total population has had at least one dose of vaccine, and just shy of 70% of the province's total population has had two doses.

Of the 3,949,169 B.C. residents who have received at least one dose of vaccine, nearly 91.2%, or 3,601,169 are fully vaccinated. 

Outbreaks in the past few weeks have consistently shown that the provincial hot spots for infection, per capita, are in the Northern Health and Interior Health regions. That remained true today. 

Glacier Media crunched the numbers for how many of the 814 cases identified in the past day 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:
• 1.3 in Fraser Health (241);
• 1.1 in Vancouver Coastal Health (135);
• 3.7 in Interior Health (272);
• 2.4 in Northern Health (72); and
• 1.1 in Island Health (90).

Four new cases were in people who normally reside outside B.C.

The result by health region for the 5,550 people fighting active infections for each 10,000 residents (with total new cases in brackets) was:
• 8.9 in Fraser Health (1,601);
• 7.5 in Vancouver Coastal Health (939);
• 24.2 in Interior Health (1,793);
• 24 in Northern Health (1,793); and
• 5.7 in Island Health (485).

The active case counts include 11 people who normally live outside B.C.

Provincial health officer Bonnie Henry last week called the situation a "pandemic of the unvaccinated."

This is because during the week of August 31 and September 6, people not fully vaccinated accounted for 77.8% of new cases. Between August 24 and September 6, unvaccinated individuals accounted for 85.9% of hospitalizations, government data show.

The 4,691 cases in the week ended September 6 included:
• 3,247 (69.2%) unvaccinated;
• 403 (8.6%) partially vaccinated; and
• 1,041 (22.2%) fully vaccinated.

Of the 233 hospitalizations in the two weeks ended September 6, there were:
• 184 not vaccinated (79%);
• 16 partially vaccinated (6.9%); and
• 33 fully vaccinated (14.2%).

B.C. government data from mid-to-late August show that people who are unvaccinated are:
• 12 times more likely to contract COVID-19 than those who have had two vaccine doses;
• 34 times more likely to land in hospital with COVID-19 than those who have had two vaccine doses; and
• eight times more likely to die from COVID-19 than those who have had two vaccine doses.

Older people continue to be more susceptible to serious bouts of COVID-19, and to die from the illness. The 80-to-90 age group saw 11 deaths between July 30 and August 26. The second highest age group for deaths was for those aged between 70 and 79 years, which had seven deaths. 

It is because of this, that outbreaks at seniors' living facilities are so concerning. 

B.C. continues to have 21 such outbreaks, including some that are more broadly in healthcare facilities.