B.C.’s new COVID-19 infection numbers continue its sharp upward trajectory Wednesday, breaking the all-time daily record set just one day ago with 1,474 new cases, provincial statistics show.
The sharp spike in new COVID infections comes a day after the province implemented strict gathering and social distancing requirements that will last into mid-January, as the contagious Omicron variant is spreading rapidly within B.C. and in other jurisdictions.
Tuesday’s new case numbers broke 1,300 — the first time daily numbers have reached that height since the pandemic started early 2020. In the latest report, B.C. officials say there are now 7,253 active COVID cases in the province — with 187 people hospitalized with the disease, 71 of those in intensive care.
The epicentre for this new wave of COVID infections appears to be Vancouver Coastal Health (VCH), which has overtaken Fraser Health as the area with most daily infections since Omicron began taking hold recently. On Wednesday, there were 711 new cases in the VCH region, followed 435 in Fraser Health, 176 in Island Health, 113 in Interior Health and 39 in Northern Health.
VCH now has 2,952 active cases, more than Fraser Health (2,277), Island Health (1,146), Interior Health (683) and Northern Health (195).
The death toll also grew by six in the last 24 hours, bringing the total number of lives lost to COVID since last year to 2,409. Three of the deaths were reported in the Fraser Health region, two in Island Health, and one in Northern Health.
There is a silver lining in the new data: There have been no new outbreaks at health-care facilities throughout the province in the last few days of elevated new COVID numbers. That means that the Lions Gate Hospital in VCH continues to be the only facility with an active outbreak in B.C.
The Omicron-fuelled COVID spike in B.C. appears to be breaking through among even fully vaccinated individuals, with 71.7% of people (4,264) infected between Dec. 14 and 20 (5,944) being fully vaccinated. That compares with 1,602 infections among the non-vaccinated (27%) and 78 partially vaccinated (1.3%).
However, the vaccine does appear to make a significant difference in outcome, with 67% (or 122 people) of the 183 people hospitalized between Dec. 7 and 20 being non-vaccinated. That compares with 54 (30%) who are fully vaccinated and 7 (4%) who are partially vaccinated.
Meanwhile, the province continues to administer vaccines and booster shots to B.C. residents, with 9.2 million doses given out so far in the pandemic. That has contributed to 92.1% of all eligible adults in the province (or just under four million people) having received their first dose, 89.4% (3.87 million) having had their second and 18% (763,715) having had their booster shot.
Those numbers drop slightly for the entire populace of B.C. residents age 12 and older eligible for the vaccines, with 91.8% partially vaccinated, 88.9% fully vaccinated and 16% having had booster shots.
In total — including children age five and above — the partial vaccination rate in B.C. is 87.6%, with 82.7% of people fully vaccinated.