9 COVID-19 deaths recorded Friday in B.C.'s deadliest day since February

People line up to get a COVID-19 vaccine at a pop-up clinic in Vancouver. (Shutterstock)

B.C.'s Ministry of Health has announced 820 additional cases of COVID-19, as well as nine related deaths.

The nine deaths are the most reported in a 24-hour period since Feb. 25.

The latest cases bring B.C.'s seven-day rolling average for new infections up to 690.

There have now been 173,158 confirmed coronavirus cases and 1,856 deaths in B.C. since the pandemic began.

Currently, there are 5,850 active cases of COVID-19 in the province. That includes 281 people who are battling the disease in hospital, 135 of them in intensive care units.

The largest share of the newly announced cases was found in the Fraser Health region, where 264 infections were reported.

Another 253 cases were found in Interior Health, which has been the hotspot of B.C.'s fourth wave of the pandemic.

Notably, though they've recorded similar numbers of new cases over the last few weeks, Fraser Health and Interior Health have vastly different populations. Fraser Health is home to more than twice as many people as Interior Health, meaning far fewer people are contracting the coronavirus in the Fraser Health region on a per-capita basis.

Elsewhere, Friday saw 112 new cases in Vancouver Coastal Health, 101 in Northern Health and 90 in Island Health.

The nine deaths were reported across four different regions, with three in Vancouver Coastal Health, three in Interior Health, two in Northern Health and one in Island Health.

Health officials have blamed B.C.'s fourth wave on the highly transmissible Delta variant, which has spread especially rapidly through unvaccinated populations in the province.

Of the 4,661 COVID-19 infections reported between Sept. 2 and 8, 69.8 per cent were found in unvaccinated people. This, despite the fact that unvaccinated people make up less than a third of B.C.'s total population, and an even smaller percentage of those ages 12 and older who are eligible to be vaccinated.

As of Friday, 85.5 per cent of people in that eligible age group had received at least a first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, and 78 per cent had received both shots.

Beginning on Monday, proof of a first dose of vaccine will be required for participation in certain non-essential activities, including dining in restaurants and working out in gyms.

By Oct. 24, proof of full vaccination will be required in such settings. More information on the B.C. Vaccine Card that will serve as proof of vaccination for B.C. residents can be found here and on the provincial government website