COVID-19 update: B.C. adds 402 cases as seven-day average nears 250

B.C.'s Ministry of Health announced another 402 cases of COVID-19 on Thursday, pushing the province's seven-day average for new infections to nearly 250.

The update also represents the biggest single-day increase in cases B.C. has seen since May 21. The province's active caseload jumped to 2,066 as well, the highest it's been since June 7.

B.C.'s ongoing surge in COVID-19 infections has caused some concern that the province could be heading for a fourth wave of the pandemic.

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry noted Thursday that 95 per cent of recent cases have involved people who are not fully immunized against the disease, and described the surge in infections as "a wave of cases in the unvaccinated."

"I am grateful to all the British Columbians who have rolled up their sleeves to get their COVID-19 vaccine," she said in a news release. "This simple act brings us one step closer to putting the pandemic behind us."

Health officials have indicated their response remains focused on bringing up vaccination numbers. The government held its first "Walk-in Wednesday" event this week, allowing people to get first or second doses without booking an appointment, and said more than 16,000 people took part.

"From Vanderhoof to Victoria, from Chilliwack to Creston, we saw thousands of people throughout B.C. drop in for Walk-in Wednesday and do their part to get vaccinated," Health Minister Adrian Dix said in a statement.

A total of 33,000 doses of vaccine were administered Wednesday, including walk-in appointments, which is the most given out in a day since July 10.

The province has administered a total of 6,965,062 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna and AstraZeneca vaccines so far, including enough first doses for nearly 82 per cent of eligible residents age 12 and older. Just over 68 per cent of eligible British Columbians have received both doses.

The government has implemented other measures to combat climbing case numbers. Interior Health, which is battling a unique increase in transmission, recently declared a regional outbreak in the Central Okanagan and re-instituted a local mask mandate.

Of the cases announced Thursday, more than half – 234 – were recorded in Interior Health.

No one has died from COVID-19 since Wednesday's update, leaving the province's death toll at 1,722.

The number of COVID-19 patients in hospital increased to 58, though the number in intensive care decreased slightly to 21.