While B.C. on July 22 went three straight days without a known COVID-19-related death, newly diagnosed cases have been rising, hinting that there might be rises in hospitalizations and deaths in the coming weeks.
The province went six days without a known COVID-19 death earlier this month. The only other time in the past 11 months that it has gone three consecutive days without a known COVID-19 death was in September.
The province's death toll from COVID-19 stayed flat, at 1,763. A sign that this count could rise, however, is that there is a rising number of people hospitalized in B.C. with COVID-19 – five more than yesterday, for a total of 53. For some perspective, there were 63 people in B.C. hospitals with COVID-19 a week ago.
Of those now in B.C. hospitals fighting for their lives with COVID-19, 15 are in intensive care units (ICU), with that figure down one from yesterday. One month ago, there were 41 people in B.C. ICU with COVID-19.
B.C. health officials detected 89 new cases of COVID-19 in the past day. This is the third consecutive day with a rising number of new cases. With 7,394 tests conducted in the past day, the province's positive-test rate was 1.2%, which is higher than it has been in recent weeks.
For the third day in a row, newly discovered COVID-19 infections are appearing disproportionately in the comparatively less populated Interior Health region, where wildfires are raging, and many have been told to evacuate their homes.
BC Centre for Disease Control data show towns with large recent spikes in the Interior Health region include Castlegar and Summerland. In Castlegar, officials detected 18 COVID-19 cases in the week that ended on July 19, compared with four cases the previous week. In Summerland, officials detected 11 COVID-19 cases in the week that ended on July 19, compared with one case the previous week.
Conversely, the Interior Health region's Grand Forks' outbreak has showed signs of easing. It reported four new cases in the week that ended July 19, compared with 29 cases the previous week.
By health region, the 89 cases detected province-wide in the past 24 hours include:
• 30 in Fraser Health (33.7%);
• 18 in Vancouver Coastal Health (20.2%);
• 37 in Interior Health (41.6%);
• one cases in Northern Health (1.1%);
• three in Island Health (3.4%); and
• no one who normally resides outside B.C.
Nearly 98.3%, or 146178, of the 148,730 people known to have contracted COVID-19 in B.C. are considered by the province to have recovered because they have gone 10 days after first feeling symptoms, and are therefore thought to not be infectious.
There are 781 people now known to be actively battling infections in the province. That is the lowest number since June 30, when there were 816 such individuals.
Vaccinations are helping limit the spread of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, as well as variant strains – all of which cause COVID-19.
B.C.'s vaccination campaign included 64,478 doses yesterday, including 64,467 to those who normally reside in B.C.
There were 5,999 British Columbians who received their first dose of a vaccine yesterday, while 58,468 received needed second doses.
In total, the province's count is that 3,717,929 British Columbians have received at least one dose of vaccine. All of those are aged 12 years or older, as vaccines are not yet approved for those who are younger than 12 years.
The B.C. government said that 80.2% of B.C.'s eligible population has been vaccinated with at least one dose, so that means that it believes the province has approximately 4,635,822 residents who are at least 12 years old. It added that 2,636,377 British Columbians have received needed second doses. That amounts to about 56.9% of the eligible population, according to the government.
The B.C. government's most recent estimate of the province's total population is 5,147,712, so that means that about 72.2% of B.C.'s total population has had at least one dose of vaccine, and 51.2% of the province's total population has had two doses.
The two known outbreaks at B.C. healthcare facilities are at:
• the long-term care centre Holyrood Manor in Maple Ridge, in Fraser Health; and
• Laurel Place at Surrey Memorial Hospital in Fraser Health.