British Columbia reported nine more COVID-19 deaths on Friday, as the number of people with the virus topped 900 for the first time.
Health officials reported 924 COVID-positive patients in hospital, an overnight increase of 33. Of them, 130 people were in critical or intensive care, an overnight increase of 11.
B.C. confirmed another 2,364 new cases, however daily new case counts are no longer considered an accurate measure of COVID’s spread, due to limited testing.
As of Friday, 86.5 per cent of B.C.’s population (89.4 per cent of those eligible) have had one dose of vaccine, 80.8 per cent of B.C.’s population (83.5 per cent of those eligible) have had two doses, and 34 per cent of B.C.’s population (37.8 per cent of those eligible) have had three doses.
The province says fully vaccinated people accounted for 72.4 per cent of new cases over the last week and 69.1 per cent of hospitalizations over the past two weeks.
However, unvaccinated people remain at far higher risk of severe outcomes on a per-capita level. Per 100,000 population over the same period, they were hospitalized at a rate of 78.6, compared to 17.7 for fully vaccinated people.
There were five new health-care outbreaks, bringing the number of outbreaks in health-care facilities to 62.
Since the start of the pandemic, B.C. has reported a total of 306,639 cases and 2,529 deaths.
Earlier Friday, provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry signaled a major shift in the province’s COVID policy, as the Omicron variant continues to drive rapid spread.
Everyone should now consider themselves a close contact, Henry said, acknowledging that contact-tracing is no longer effective.
“We cannot limit all risk. It is part of what we will be living with. We can use all the layers of protection,” Henry said, referring to vaccinations, good quality masks and limited group sizes.
Henry said everyone should be self-monitoring themselves for symptoms, and that if they are feeling well people can continue to go to school, work and daycare.
However, people should be prepared to cancel plans anytime they feel unwell, she said.