British Columbia

B.C. records 706 new cases of COVID-19 and 4 more deaths

B.C. health officials announced 706 new cases of COVID-19 and four more deaths on Thursday.

There are 291 people in hospital with the disease, 134 of whom are in intensive care

A pedestrian walks down Bernard Avenue in downtown Kelowna, B.C. (Winston Szeto/CBC)

B.C. health officials announced 706 new cases of COVID-19 and four more deaths on Thursday.

In a written statement, the provincial Health Ministry said there are currently 5,844 active cases of people infected with the novel coronavirus in B.C.

A total of 291 people are in hospital, with 134 in intensive care.

Overall hospitalizations, which typically lag behind spikes and dips in new cases, are up by 11 per cent from last Thursday, when 262 people were in hospital with the disease and about 182 per cent from a month ago when 104 people were in hospital.

The number of patients in intensive care is up by about three per cent from 130 a week ago and by 185 per cent from a month ago when 47 people were in the ICU.

The provincial death toll from the disease is now 1,877 lives lost out of 177,186 confirmed cases to date.

The regional breakdown of new cases is as follows:

  • 213 new cases in Interior Health, which has 1,504 total active cases.
  • 203 new cases in Fraser Health, which has 1,784 total active cases.
  • 105 new cases in Vancouver Coastal Health, which has 1,051 total active cases. 
  • 81 new cases in Island Health, which has 638 total active cases.
  • 104 new cases in Northern Health, which has 857 total active cases.

There are a total of 23 active outbreaks in assisted living and long-term care.

As of Thursday, 86.3 per cent of those 12 and older in B.C. have received their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine and 78.8 per cent a second dose.

From Sept. 8 to 14, people who were not fully vaccinated accounted for 76.1 per cent of cases and from Sept. 1 to14 they accounted for 86.4 per cent of hospitalizations, according to the province. After factoring for age, people not vaccinated are 35.7 times more likely to be hospitalized than those who are fully vaccinated, it said.

So far, 7.6 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been administered, including 3.6 million second doses.

Outbreak continues at Jubilee Lodge

According to a written statement from Northern Heath, a total of five residents have died as a result of a COVID-19 outbreak at the long-term care facility in Prince George.

On Sept. 6, health officials declared an outbreak at Jubilee Lodge when six patients and one staff member tested positive for COVID-19.

On Thursday, it said 20 residents and three staff have now tested positive for COVID-19 and four additional cases have been epidemiologically linked due to exposure with a confirmed case.

A vaccine card is scanned outside Jam Cafe in Vancouver on Sept. 15. (Maggie MacPherson/CBC)

Public health officials are continuing to monitor the situation and say they will only declare the outbreak over when they are confident that chains of transmission have been stopped.

    Can you vote Monday if you're isolating with COVID-19?

    According to Elections Canada, any Canadian voter who is required to self-isolate due to a positive COVID-19 test or close contact with someone who has tested positive, in accordance with their provincial or territorial rules, will have no way to cast a ballot on Sept. 20, unless they've already requested a mail-in ballot or voted in the advance polls.

    "We ask that any elector who thinks they may have COVID-19 or who [has] tested positive for the virus to isolate, stay home and not come to an Elections Canada office or polling place," Elections Canada said in a statement.

    Every province and territory has rules requiring people to self-isolate if they've tested positive for COVID-19 or have come into close contact with someone who has, though the rules vary slightly between jurisdictions. 

    Proof of vaccine in Alberta

    B.C.'s neighbouring province is introducing its own proof-of-vaccine program, after Alberta Premier Jason Kenney said earlier this summer that the province would not be introducing vaccine passports.

    The program will require people to provide proof of vaccination status or a negative COVID-19 test in order to gain entry to participating businesses and social events.

    On Wednesday, Alberta had more than 18,000 active cases — the most of any province.

    As of Monday, British Columbians over the age of 12 are required to prove their vaccination status to enter some businesses and participate in some activities, including dining in restaurants, attending films and concerts or visiting a fitness facility.

    Adults aged 19 and over must show a piece of government-issued photo ID along with their vaccination card.

    The immunization record card British Columbians receive when they get their shots will be accepted as proof until Sept. 26, by which time residents are expected to have their vaccine card.

    After that date, people will need to present a digital or hard copy of a provincial vaccine card, which can be accessed through the provincial Health Gateway website

    All B.C. health-care workers must also be vaccinated to continue working as of Oct. 26 and this applies to students, physicians, residents and contractors.

    If your immunization record is wrong and your name doesn't match your other identification, you can call 1-833-838-2323 to have it corrected.

    Tap here for more details on the vaccine card program.

    With files from Michelle Ghoussoub and Courtney Dickson


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