The slow but steady trend of higher COVID-19 infections in B.C. has pushed the province's number of active infections to the highest level since June 11 – more than seven weeks ago.
There are now 1,544 known active COVID-19 infections in B.C. The number of active infections had been plunging in late May, June and July, with 50 consecutive reporting periods recording a drop in active infections. That streak ended on July 6, when there were 602 active infections. As recently as July 23, B.C. had 603 active infections.
Some good news is that active infections have not yet translated into a spike in hospitalizations, intensive-care-unit (ICU) visits, or deaths.
The vast majority of those known to be battling COVID-19 infections in B.C. have been told to self-isolate, although 53 are in hospitals, with 19 of those sick enough to be in ICUs.
Health officials announced August 3 that they know of one new COVID-19-related death in the past four days. That death is the only COVID-19-related fatality in B.C. that they have recorded in the past six days. It brings the province's death toll from the pandemic to 1,772.
Data for the past four days was released because of the long weekend.
Newly discovered infections for those days include:
• 160 on July 31;
• 196 on August 1;
• 185 on August 2; and
• 201 in the past 24 hours.
Most new infections in the past week have been detected in the Interior Health region – something that prompted health officials to impose a mask mandate for those in indoor public spaces.
Here is a breakdown of where the 742 new COVID-19 infections in B.C. are, by health region:
• 165 in Fraser Health (22.2%);
• 115 in Vancouver Coastal Health (15.5%);
• 395 in Interior Health (53.2%);
• 24 in Northern Health (3.2%);
• 42 in Island Health (5.7%); and
• one people who normally resides outside B.C. (0.1%).
More than 97.7%, or 147,285, of the 150,631 people known to have contracted COVID-19 in B.C. are considered by the province to have recovered because they have gone 10 days after first feeling symptoms, and are therefore thought to not be infectious.
Despite the steady rise in new cases, B.C. has yet to create a vaccination pass, which would be needed in order to enter a nightclub or a restaurant.
"We're not, at this point, going to be requiring people (to wear masks in order to get into bars and restaurants,)" provincial health officer Bonnie Henry said at an August 3 press conference.
She added that she thinks that it is "perfectly valid" for some business owners to require that all of their customers have been vaccinated.
"We've talked about not having vaccine passports for things like access to public services, but there are some things that are not essential services where it is important that only immunized people get together, especially if it's in a situation where we have more of the virus transmitted, and in settings, like indoor crowded settings."
British Columbia Restaurant and Foodservices Association CEO Ian Tostenson, however, told Glacier Media last week that he does not support a government order for restaurants to ban unvaccinated people.
Instead, Tostenson said that he would like his organization's members to be able to accept all guests regardless of vaccination status. He added that his association's restaurant members should be free to require vaccination certificates for entry into their establishments if they want to do that, but he advises them not to do that, as it can put their staff in a difficult position, and it may prompt altercations.
Henry also said at the press conference that fast spread of variants of concern has not changed her plan to have schools resume in the province in September.
Provincial data show 3,773,442 British Columbians with at least one dose of vaccine, and 3,121,311 people being fully vaccinated with two doses of vaccine.
The government estimates that this translates into 81.4% of the eligible population being vaccinated at least once, and 67.3% of the eligible population being vaccinated twice.
The B.C. government's most recent estimate of the province's total population is 5,147,712, so that means that about 73.3% of B.C.'s total population has had at least one dose of vaccine, and 58.5% of the province's total population has had two doses.
Henry touted a vaccine-promotion event taking place tomorrow, August 4, when all COVID-19 vaccination centres will accept the general public for vaccine shots, or for counselling to learn more about the vaccines.
The province continues to have two COVID-19 outbreaks at seniors' homes: Holyrood Manor in Maple Ridge, and Nelson Jubilee Manor in Nelson.