B.C.’s provincial health officer says the latest increase in COVID-19 case counts is mostly being driven by younger people who haven’t been fully immunized.
Dr. Bonnie Henry acknowledged Thursday that daily COVID-19 cases — which reached 342 a day earlier, a number not seen since the end of May — were experiencing a surge.
“Primarily in younger people between the ages of 20 and 40, and 95 per cent across the province of people who are infected right now are unimmunized or people who have not yet had their second dose,” Henry said Thursday.
When asked why B.C. has not taken additional measures despite the rising case count, Henry said the province expected that it would see an increased number of cases after relaxing existing public health measures over the summer.
“What we’re not seeing, and we’re monitoring very carefully, we’re not seeing widespread transmission to people at risk as we’ve seen in the past,” she said, adding immunization rates are relatively high in the age categories most at risk from the virus.
She also highlighted additional measures being taken in places like B.C.’s Interior, where a mask mandate was reintroduced in the Central Okanagan in the face of spiking COVID-19 cases and lower vaccination rates.
“We’ve taken additional measures in the areas, the hot spots that we’re seeing case rates rise, particularly in unvaccinated people,” she said. “The important measure that we have not to manage outbreaks is immunization.”
Health Minister Adrian Dix provided an update on the province’s “Walk-in Wednesday” vaccination program, which allowed anyone to receive their first or second dose of COVID-19 vaccine at any mass clinics in B.C,
Dix said 33,277 shots were administered Wednesday, a “significant” increase over previous days, and of those, 16,505 were walk-ins.
He also said that first doses are available for anyone on a walk-in basis at all immunization clinics.
On Vancouver Island, Dix said there was a “great uptick” in people under 30 who received a dose of vaccine in the Comox, Cowichan and Alberni valleys.
“Yesterday was, therefore, a success but there’s obviously more work to do,” he said.
As of Thursday, 81.7 per cent of people over the age of 12 had received their first dose of vaccine, and 70.6 per cent had received both doses.
So far, 6,965,062 doses of vaccine have been delivered in B.C.