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Daily COVID-19 case counts in B.C. highest since May 1

The 724 new infections detected in the past day is at the highest level since May 1.
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The fourth wave of COVID-19 in B.C. continues to surge, with 724 new infections detected in the past day. 

There have not been that many infections discovered in a 24-hour period since August 21, when there were also 724 new cases. The last time there were more new infections in a day was May 1, when health officials detected 835 new cases.

B.C. officials have confirmed 162,693 infections since the first case was identified in late January, 2020. 

More than 95.3%, or 155,096 of those infected, are considered 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 5,640 people actively fighting COVID-19 infections, with 149 in B.C. hospitals, and 83 of those sick enough to be in those hospitals' intensive care units. Hospitalizations have not been as high since June 11, while the number of those in ICUs has not been higher since May 27. Two more people have died from the disease, raising the province's pandemic death toll to 1,804.

From August 11 to 24, people not fully vaccinated accounted for 82.4% of cases and 86.4% of hospitalizations, according to government statistics. 

The 4,413 cases in the week ended August 24 included:
• 3,131 (70.9%) unvaccinated;
• 509 (11.5%) partially vaccinated; and
• 773 (17.5%) fully vaccinated.

Of the 199 hospitalizations in the two weeks ended August 24, there were:
• 157 not vaccinated;
• 15 partially vaccinated; and
• 27 fully vaccinated.

The Interior Health region remains the province's hot spot.

Glacier Media crunched the numbers for how many of the 724 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 in Fraser Health (185);
• 1.1 in Vancouver Coastal Health (142);
• 3.7 in Interior Health (271);
• 2.1 in Northern Health (62); and
• 0.8 in Island Health (64).

No new cases were in people who normally reside outside B.C.

The result by health region for the number of people fighting active infections for each 10,000 residents (with total new cases in brackets) was:
• 7.3 in Fraser Health (1,319);
• 11.5 in Vancouver Coastal Health (1,432);
• 27.1 in Interior Health (2,014);
• 12 in Northern Health (361); and
• 5.9 in Island Health (502).

The highest proportion of active cases in the week ended August 23 in the Lower Mainland were in the Downtown Eastside, and into East Vancouver, as those areas were the only ones that had more than 20 cases per 10,000 people. Northeastern B.C. was the only part of the province with no known COVID-19 cases in that week. 

Provincial health officer Bonnie Henry had originally been reluctant to provide data broken down by community, because she saw it as being an invasion of privacy. The province now does provide those breakdowns, however, as it said that in the week ended August 23, there was a single case each in large regions around Prince Rupert, Burns Lake, and in Windermere, as well as in Upper Skeena.

Health officials provided British Columbians with 20,377 vaccine jabs in arms in the past 24 hours. That is up significantly from an average of 14,953 doses per day in the previous seven days. Of the new jabs, 9,094 went to unvaccinated people, while 11,283 were to those needing second doses. 

Of the 3,878,423 B.C. residents who have received at least one dose of vaccine, more than 90.3%, or 3,504,402, are fully vaccinated. 

The B.C. government estimated in February that the province's total population is 5,147,712, so that means that more than 75.3% of B.C.'s total population has had at least one dose of vaccine, and more than 68% of the province's total population has had two doses.

The government's math holds that 83.7% of the province's eligible population, aged 12 years and older, has been vaccinated at least once, with 75.6% of eligible people being fully vaccinated. 

While the number of vaccine doses provided on a daily basis had been shrinking in B.C. in recent weeks, as a result of most people already being vaccinated, there are indications that a strong rebound in vaccinations could be on the way. 

Getting a vaccine dose at a B.C. clinic no longer requires a reservation, but many people still make them. The B.C. government said it has recorded a significant increase in the number of vaccine registrations, and bookings for first doses, particularly among people younger than 40 years old.

On August 23, there were 8,909 new registrations and 7,347 new appointment bookings. This represents a 174.8% increase in daily registrations and an 88.6% daily increase in bookings, compared to the previous Monday, which recorded 3,242 new registrations and 3,896 bookings, the government said. 

Those wanting to get jabbed at the Vancouver Convention Centre East building, which has been operational for months, will need to act fast, Vancouver Convention Centre general manager Craig Lehto told Glacier Media August 26.

"We had, up until two weeks ago, three ballrooms, plus two halls, that were all a vaccination centre," he said. "We were doing between 5,000 and 6000 vaccinations a day. It has scaled back in the last two weeks, and we're doing 1,000 per day. We're due to close that this Sunday, and we'll be finished with the vaccinations at that point."

Henry told media earlier this summer that larger vaccination venues would be closing in favour of smaller ones.

COVID-19 vaccine clinics are expected to pop up at post-secondary campuses, for example, to make it convenient for students and staff to get vaccinated. 

Despite rising vaccination levels, active outbreaks continue at 14 B.C. seniors' homes, or other healthcare facilities. 

Those include: 
• Brock Fahrni in Vancouver;
• Spring Valley Care Centre in Kelowna
• Heritage Village in Chilliwack; 
• Hardy View Lodge in Grand Forks;
• Sun Pointe Village in Kelowna;
• Nicola Meadows in Merritt;
• Village at Mill Creek (second floor) in Kelowna;
• Hawthorn Park in Kelowna; 
• David Lloyd Jones long-term care home in Kelowna;
• Peace Arch Hospital in White Rock;
• Kootenay Street Village in Cranbrook;
• Cottonwoods Care Centre in Kelowna;
• Brookhaven Care Centre in West Kelowna; and
• Nelson Jubilee Manor in Nelson.

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