4 more people die of COVID-19 in B.C., as 605 new cases confirmed
There are 374 people in hospital with the disease, 153 of whom are in intensive care
B.C. health officials announced 605 new cases of COVID-19 and four more deaths on Wednesday.
In a written statement, the provincial government said there are currently 5,172 active cases of people infected with the novel coronavirus in B.C.
A total of 374 people are in hospital, with 153 in intensive care.
Overall hospitalizations, which typically lag behind spikes and dips in new cases, are up by 6.9 per cent from last Wednesday, when 350 people were in hospital with the disease and about 34.5 per cent from a month ago when 278 people were in hospital.
The number of patients in intensive care is up by about 12.5 per cent from 136 a week ago and by 10 per cent from a month ago when 139 people were in the ICU.
The provincial death toll from COVID-19 is now 2,033 lives lost out of 195,186 confirmed cases to date.
There are a total of 19 active outbreaks in assisted living and long-term care, including a new outbreak at the Tofino General Hospital, and outbreaks at Mission Memorial Hospital and the University Hospital of Northern B.C.
As of Wednesday, 88.9 per cent of those 12 and older in B.C. have received their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine and 82.7 per cent a second dose.
From Oct. 5 to 11, people who were not fully vaccinated accounted for 68 per cent of cases and from Sept. 28 to Oct. 11, they accounted for 73.4 per cent of hospitalizations, according to the province. After factoring for age, people not vaccinated are 17.4 times more likely to be hospitalized than those who are fully vaccinated, it said.
So far, eight million doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been administered, including 3.8 million second doses.
New mask mandate
Children aged five and older are now included in the public health order mandating masks for indoor public spaces in B.C., the province said Tuesday.
The change was made for consistency's sake: The provincewide mask mandate is now more aligned with new school masking rules in place for kids in kindergarten to Grade 3.
Previously, the mask rule for indoor public spaces only applied to children aged 12 and older.
Currently, only those aged 12 and up are eligible to get vaccinated against COVID-19 in Canada.
But Pfizer has requested Health Canada approve its vaccine for kids aged five to 11, and Henry said Tuesday she hopes the vaccine will be available for kids "as early as early November."
Parents can register children 5-11 in the provincial Get Vaccinated system, to prepare for when COVID-19 vaccines are Health Canada approved and available in BC. Parents will receive a text, email or phone call when it's time to book a vaccine appointment. <a href="https://t.co/GQ4iUYdr1Y">https://t.co/GQ4iUYdr1Y</a> <a href="https://t.co/nhc4QdwBSW">pic.twitter.com/nhc4QdwBSW</a>—@BCGovNews
Land border reopening
Fully vaccinated Canadians will be allowed to enter the United States at land and ferry border crossings starting in early November.
Senior U.S. officials announced Tuesday night a plan to begin reopening the land borders with Canada and Mexico, which have been closed for non-essential travel since the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020.
An exact date for the reopening has not yet been determined, according to senior administration officials who briefed reporters about the plan during a conference call.
The U.S. is also awaiting guidance from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) about travellers who received the AstraZeneca vaccine, and those who received mixed doses of COVID-19 vaccines. The U.S. has not approved the mixing of vaccine doses or the AstraZeneca vaccine for its residents.
However, an official on the conference call noted that the CDC plans to recommend the acceptance of air travellers who have been inoculated with any vaccine approved for emergency use by the World Health Organization, which includes AstraZeneca. The official said a similar rule should be expected at land crossings.
According to U.S. officials, Canadians crossing the border will be questioned about their vaccination status by border agents.
With files from Katie Simpson, Nick Boisvert, Alexander Panetta