Figures show children aged five to 11 in British Columbia are contracting COVID-19 at higher rates, with more than a third of that group’s total recent cases occurring this week.
The province says 550 cases were diagnosed this week in that age group from 14,295 total cases in the province between Oct. 26 and Nov. 1.
Fifty-six of those children went to hospital, and four of them received critical care.
The province says cases among kids aged nine to 11 rose the most a few weeks after the start of the school year.
Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry says the number of cases overall among children is going down, while the rising cases are a reflection of transmission in areas where the vaccination rates are lower.
Overall, cases rose the most in the Interior region between August and late September before declining as the Northern region had a higher number of cases.
New modelling shows overall B.C.’s case count is in a slow decline but hospitalizations remain high. Once again health officials pointed to data showing that unvaccinated people are driving those numbers.
“50 times more likely to be in hospital if you’re unvaccinated, 50 times and I think it’s important to reflect on that,” said Health Minister Adrian Dix.
Nearly half (46%) of all COVID-related deaths in B.C. over the past month have been in fully vaccinated people. Henry says most are over 80 and says it’s clear age continues to be the leading risk factor for severe illness.
“It’s the people around elders and seniors who also need to be protected through vaccination, because if they get infected their risk of having more severe illness is that much higher.”
According to Dix more people continue to get vaccinated particularly in hot spots and those working in healthcare. He says that since August 12 when a mandate was announced, the rate of vaccination for staff in long-term care and assisted living has gone up from 90.1 per cent to 96.5 per cent.
“This order is necessary and important and has made our healthcare system safer for everybody,” Dix said.
The update comes a day after the province reported 430 new COVID-19 cases, including 47 linked to Vancouver Island, and six deaths on Wednesday.
One of the deaths recorded was in the Island Health region. There have been a total of 97 deaths in the region since the onset of the pandemic and 55 since Aug. 17.
The number of confirmed cases in B.C. is now at 206,284 while the death toll is at 2,181.
Last week, an independent group of researchers performing their own modelling on the COVID-19 virus in B.C. said cases are declining at about 2 per cent a day.
However, the B.C. COVID-19 Modelling Group said children under 10 could now be more at risk of contracting the virus because they are unvaccinated.