COVID-19 update: B.C. records 1,986 cases, 10 deaths over the weekend

Mask sign seen outside a B.C. store during the COVID-19 pandemic. (Shutterstock)

Another 1,986 cases of COVID-19 and 10 related deaths were recorded in British Columbia over the weekend, the government revealed Monday as the province's expanded school mask mandate came into effect.

The update, provided in a written statement from the Ministry of Health, put the province's seven-day average for new infections at 702 per day, down from 738 on Friday.

The seven-day average for coronavirus-related deaths dropped to 6.14 per day, down from a seven-month high of 7.29 on Friday.

The number of infectious COVID-19 patients in hospital decreased slightly to 326, while the number in intensive care increased slightly to 142. The number of patients who were hospitalized for the coronavirus but are no longer considered infectious is only released once per week in B.C.

Once again, the numbers show the unvaccinated and partially vaccinated continue to make up the vast majority of cases and hospitalizations in the province, according to the ministry.

Just under 65 per cent of infections recorded from Sept. 24 to 30 involved people who hadn't received a single dose of vaccine, a group that represents about 20 per cent of the province.

The unvaccinated caught COVID-19 at a rate of 295.7 per 100,000 population during that period after adjusting for age, the ministry said, compared to 35.8 per 100,000 among the fully vaccinated.

The unvaccinated also made up 71 per cent of COVID-19 patients in hospital from Sept. 17 to 30. They were hospitalized at a rate of 40.5 per 100,000 population during that period after adjusting for age, compared to 1.6 per 100,000 among the fully vaccinated.

Fraser Health recorded the highest number of COVID-19 cases over the weekend, with 782, or approximately 40 per cent of the total, but Northern Health once again recorded the highest number of cases per capita.

Northern Health saw 121.7 cases per 100,000 population over the three days, compared to 50 in Interior Health, 41 in Fraser Health, 25.4 cases in Island Health, and 18.9 in Vancouver Coastal Health.

Monday marked the first day that students from kindergarten to Grade 3 were required to wear masks at school, including at their desks. Previously, the requirement only applied to students in Grades 4 through 12.

Parents and teachers are hopeful the masks will help curb the province's recent spike in COVID-19 infections involving school-aged children who are not yet eligible for vaccination.

Of the eligible population age 12 and older, 88.2 per cent have now received at least one dose of vaccine, and 81.6 per cent have received both.

The province also began giving out booster shots to vulnerable residents of long-term care homes and assisted living facilities on Monday, a move that's hoped to slow the resurgence of outbreaks in those settings. Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry has noted that elderly populations can develop a less robust immune response after getting the shots, and residents in care were among the first to receive the vaccine during B.C.'s rollout.

Officials announced two outbreaks in long-term care homes on Monday, at Manoah Manor and the Good Samaritan Delta View Care Centre. Four other outbreaks were declared over, leaving 20 active outbreaks across the province's health-care system.