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B.C. reports 641 new COVID-19 cases as the province reintroduces mandatory mask policy

B.C. has once again made masks mandatory in indoor public spaces. (Getty Images)

Another 641 new cases of COVID-19 were reported in British Columbia on Tuesday, hours after the province reintroduced public health measures requiring people to wear masks in all indoor public spaces.

Of the new cases, 273 were in the Interior Health region. 125 cases were in the Vancouver Coastal Health region, 149 were in the Fraser Health region, 53 were in Island Health, and 39 were in Northern Health. Two cases involved people who reside outside of Canada.

Click to play video: 'BC reinstates mask mandate province wide' BC reinstates mask mandate province wide
BC reinstates mask mandate province wide – Aug 24, 2021

No new deaths were reported, leaving B.C.’s COVID-19 death toll at 1,801.

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The number of people in hospital with the disease rose to 138. Of those patients, 78 are in intensive or acute care.

There are now 5,357 active cases of the disease in the province, an increase of just over 300 from Monday when health officials announced more than 1,700 new cases over a 72-hour span.

Click to play video: 'B.C. prepares to rollout a vaccination card' B.C. prepares to rollout a vaccination card
B.C. prepares to rollout a vaccination card – Aug 24, 2021

Just over 75 per cent of eligible B.C. residents are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, but provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said that number needs to be higher as the Delta variant drives up case counts, putting those who are unvaccinated at greater risk of contracting the virus.

From Aug. 9 to 22, people who were not fully vaccinated accounted for 83.4 per cent of cases and 85.6 per cent of hospitalizations, the province said.

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Click to play video: 'B.C. prepares to rollout a vaccination card' B.C. prepares to rollout a vaccination card
B.C. prepares to rollout a vaccination card – Aug 24, 2021

Earlier in the day, the B.C. government announced it will once again require people to wear masks in public, indoor spaces throughout the province.

The order will also extend to students in Grade 4 and up at the start of the school year.

Read more: Interior Health administers hundreds of ‘invalid doses’ of COVID-19 vaccine

Henry says the order will be reassessed in mid-October when the province fully implements a card showing proof of immunization for those entering restaurants, theatres and events.

— With files from Richard Zussman and The Canadian Press

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