British Columbia

B.C. records 580 new cases of COVID-19 and 9 more deaths

B.C. health officials announced 580 new cases of COVID-19 and nine more deaths on Thursday.

There are 378 people in hospital with the disease, 153 of whom are in intensive care

A COVID-19 vaccination clinic is pictured in the Downtown Eastside neighbourhood of Vancouver, British Columbia on Wednesday, Oct. 13, 2021. (Ben Nelms/CBC)

British Columbia announced 580 new cases of COVID-19 and nine more deaths on Thursday.

In a written statement, the provincial government said there are currently 5,348 active cases of people infected with the novel coronavirus in B.C.

A total of 378 people are in hospital, with 153 in intensive care.

Overall hospitalizations, which typically lag behind spikes and dips in new cases, are up by 1.3 per cent from last Thursday, when 373 people were in hospital with the disease and about 31 per cent from a month ago when 288 people were in hospital. 

The number of patients in intensive care is up by about 15 per cent from 132 a week ago and by 9.2 per cent from a month ago when 140 people were in the ICU.


The provincial death toll from COVID-19 is now 2,042 lives lost out of 195,766 confirmed cases to date.


There  are a total of 19 active outbreaks in assisted living, long-term and acute care. The acute care hospitals affected are Mission Memorial Hospital, University Hospital of Northern BC, and Tofino General Hospital.

As of Thursday, 89.0 per cent of those 12 and older in B.C. have received their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine and 82.9 per cent a second dose.

From Oct. 6 to 12, people who were not fully vaccinated accounted for 66.9 per cent of cases and from Sept. 29 to Oct. 12, they accounted for 75 per cent of hospitalizations, according to the province. 

So far, eight million doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been administered.

Elementary school closure in Mission

On Thursday Windebank Elementary School in Mission announced a closure due to staffing shortages from COVID-19. 

A statement from Supt. Angus Wilson said that the school would move to remote learning from now until Thursday, Oct. 21. It said that remote learning will commence on Monday, Oct. 18 as teachers will use Friday to prepare for the alternative format. 

"While there is no health or safety concern at this time, I have determined that operationally we will need to close the school for the next week due to staff shortages in the building," he said in a statement.

Child mask mandates

Children aged five and older are now included in the public health order mandating masks for indoor public spaces in B.C.

The province announced the change Tuesday after deciding earlier this month that the mask mandate for schools would also be expanded to include staff and students 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. Pfizer has requested Health Canada approve its vaccine for kids aged five to 11, and Provincial Health Officer Bonnie Henry says she hopes the vaccine will be available for kids by early November.

Regional restrictions remain

Different activities are permitted in different parts of the province due to varying community vaccination rates and case numbers.

In the eastern Fraser Valley — including Abbotsford, Chilliwack, Hope, Mission and Agassiz-Harrison — private gatherings are limited to five additional people or one additional household. Outdoor gatherings are limited to 10 people unless all of the participants are fully vaccinated.

Organized events like weddings or conferences will be limited to 10 people, or 50 people outside, unless everyone is fully vaccinated, which can be verified on the province's vaccine cards.

Interior Health has restrictions in place for every community in its health authority.

Indoor personal gatherings and gatherings at vacation rentals are limited to your household plus five visitors or one other household. Outdoor personal gatherings are capped at 50 people.

On Thursday, Henry placed additional restrictions on communities in northern B.C. where COVID-19 is spreading, in an effort to reduce the strain on health-care workers in the region.

Gathering restrictions are currently in place for all communities in the Northern Health region and exact details are available on the health authority's website.

With files from Bridgette Watson


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