B.C. reports 696 cases of COVID-19, 6 deaths

Another 696 cases of COVID-19 and six related deaths have been reported in British Columbia, as officials prepare to relax venue capacity limits in much of the province.

Wednesday's update from the Ministry of Health pushed B.C.'s seven-day average for new infections to 621 per day, up from 608 on Tuesday.

The seven-day average for COVID-19 deaths increased back to 8.43 per day, where it stood on Monday. Prior to that, the average hadn't been that high since Feb. 3.

Five of the deceased lived in the Fraser Health region, and the sixth lived in the Vancouver Coastal Health region.

"Our condolences are with the families, friends and caregivers of those who have died as a result of COVID-19," Health Minister Adrian Dix said on Twitter.

Once again, Northern Health saw the highest number of COVID-19 cases per capita, with 67.2 per 100,000 population. Interior Health had the second highest with 14.2 per 100,000, followed by Fraser Health with 13.2 per 100,000.

Island Health and Vancouver Coastal Health had 6.9 and 6.4 per 100,000, respectively.

On Tuesday, health officials announced that capacity limits for organized events – including major sporting and arts events – are being lifted as of Oct. 25. Attendees at such events will be required to show proof of full COVID-19 vaccination under the province's vaccine card system as of Oct. 24.

The limits will remain in place in areas that are still under regional capacity restrictions, including Fraser East and parts of the Northern Health and Interior Health regions.

The number of infectious COVID-19 patients in hospital decreased to 370 Wednesday, including 139 in intensive care. The unvaccinated continue to make up the majority of cases and hospitalizations, despite representing less than 20 per cent of all B.C. residents, including those too young to be eligible for the approved vaccines.

According to the Ministry of Health, the unvaccinated were infected at a rate of 294.3 cases per 100,000 population between Oct. 12 and 18 after adjusting for age. The fully vaccinated were infected at a rate of 32.1 per 100,000.

87 percent of people in critical care due to COVID-19 were not fully vaccinated.

Breakdown by age is below: pic.twitter.com/WJYPZyQSq2

— Adrian Dix (@adriandix) October 20, 2021

Likewise, the unvaccinated were hospitalized at a rate of 54.1 patients per 100,000 population between Oct. 5 and 8 after adjusting for age, compared to 2.6 per 100,000 among the fully vaccinated.

So far, 89.3 per cent of eligible British Columbians have received at least one dose of vaccine, and 83.6 per cent have received two.

Officials also announced one new health-care facility outbreak, at the Swedish Assisted Living Residences in Burnaby. There are now 24 active outbreaks across B.C.'s health-care system.