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Interior continues to be B.C.'s COVID-19 hot spot

New mask mandate goes into effect at midnight in the Central Okanagan.
Masked people with kid - rk
Masked parents head to a vaccination centre along with their child

New health restrictions are set to go into effect in the Central Okanagan in B.C.'s Interior Health region because that area is a hot spot for COVID-19 transmission, provincial health officer Bonnie Henry said earlier today. 

Provincewide, health officials detected 185 new COVID-19 cases in the past day, with 61% of those coming in the Interior Health region. 

As of midnight, the Interior Health region is placing a regional mandatory mask order for all public indoor spaces for the Central Okanagan communities of Peachland, West Kelowna, Kelowna and Lake Country, as well as the Westbank First Nation lands, and the electoral districts within the Central Okanagan Regional District.

Residents in those areas will also be newly eligible to receive a second dose of vaccine after 28 days have passed since their first jab. For the rest of the province, residents will be eligible for second jabs after they have gone 49 days from their first dose.

To read more on new health measures related to the Okanagan, click here.

Here is a breakdown of where the 185 new COVID-19 infections in B.C. were discovered, by health region:
• 35 in Fraser Health (19%);
• 26 in Vancouver Coastal Health (14%);
• 113 in Interior Health (61%);
• two in Northern Health (1%);
• eight in Island Health (4.3%); and
• one person who normally resides outside B.C. 

There have not been this many new cases detected in a day since June 5, when there were 218 known new infections.

More than 98.2%, or 146,756, of the 149,444 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 909 people now known to be actively battling infections in the province, with that being the highest total since June 28. Most of those have been told to self-isolate, although 47 are in hospitals, with 20 of those in intensive care units. 

Here is a breakdown of where the 909 active COVID-19 infections in B.C. are, by health region:
• 208 in Fraser Health (22.9%);
• 136 in Vancouver Coastal Health (15%);
• 503 in Interior Health (55.3%);
• 16 in Northern Health (1.8%);
• 41 in Island Health (4.5%); and
• five people who normally reside outside B.C. (0.6%).

Three people are known to have died from the disease overnight. That raises B.C.'s death toll from the disease to 1,771.

Henry said that she is not invoking a province-wide mask mandate because many areas of the province have higher vaccination rates than the Interior Health region. Data released yesterday show that while 73.8% of eligible people in the Interior health region were vaccinated as of July 23, the rate province-wide for eligible people province-wide was 80.4%.

New government data released today pins the number of those who have received at least one jab of the vaccine in the province at 3,747,391, with 2,931,128 people having had two jabs. It estimates that this translates into 80.9% of the eligible population being vaccinated at least once, and 63.2% of the eligible population being vaccinated twice. 

The B.C. government's most recent estimate of the province's total population is 5,147,712, so that means that about 72.8% of B.C.'s total population has had at least one dose of vaccine, and 57% of the province's total population has had two doses.

Outbreaks at seniors' living facilities remain active at the Holyrood Manor in Maple Ridge, and the Nelson Jubilee Manor in Nelson.

gkorstrom@biv.com

@GlenKorstrom