COVID-19 update: B.C. reports 970 cases, 11 deaths over 72 hours

British Columbia recorded another 970 cases of COVID-19 and 11 related deaths over the weekend, as the province's seven-day average for infections continued its downward trajectory.

The latest numbers, released Monday by the Ministry of Health, pushed the weekly average down to 340 cases per day, the lowest it's been since Aug. 8.

B.C.'s active case count also fell to 2,827, marking the first time it's dropped below 3,000 in three months.

The number of infectious COVID-19 patients in hospital increased slightly to 303, while the number in intensive care remains static at 115.

The update was delivered as B.C. began vaccinating children between the ages of five and 11 against COVID-19. While some parents have been apprehensive about vaccinating their young children, officials noted some three million kids in the U.S. have already received the same vaccine, which was developed with them in mind, and there have been no "safety signals" as a result.

Other parents have been anxious to get their children vaccinated as quickly as possible, particularly in the face of faster-spreading variants such as Delta, which has been blamed for an increase in the size of COVID-19 clusters in schools.

Unvaccinated children under the age of 12 have made up about 20 per cent of B.C.'s recent COVID-19 cases, despite representing approximately 10 per cent of the population.

There are about 350,000 B.C. children between the ages of five and 11. More than 108,000 were registered for vaccination by Monday afternoon, according to the Ministry of Health, which estimated that 50,000 appointments would be booked by the end of the day.

Just over 91 per cent of British Columbians 12 and older have already received at least one dose of vaccine, and nearly 89 per cent have received two.

The push for immunization has also taken new urgency in recent days as countries brace for the potential impact of the new Omicron COVID-19 variant, several cases of which have now been confirmed in Canada.

Experts have cautioned the variant has an unusually high number of mutations, though the impact they will have on transmissibility, severity of illness and vaccine resistance have yet to be determined.