British Columbia announced three more COVID-19-related deaths on Friday, as the province reported the fewest patients in intensive care since mid-August.
Heath officials said there were 368 positive cases in hospital, an overnight drop of 20, and 46 cases in critical or intensive care. That is the lowest the figure has fallen since Aug. 14.
Officials also confirmed 288 new cases, however daily case counts are no longer considered an accurate measure of the virus’ spread, due to restrictions on testing.
As of Friday, 87.8 per cent of B.C.’s population ( per cent of those eligible) have received one dose of vaccine, 83.8 per cent of B.C.’s population ( per cent of those eligible) have received two doses, and 49 per cent of B.C.’s population ( per cent of those eligible) have received three doses.
People with two or more doses of vaccine accounted for 82 per cent of cases over the past week and 71.3 per cent of hospitalizations over the past two weeks.
Data from the B.C. Centre for Disease Control continues to show the unvaccinated are at significantly higher risk of serious outcomes.
From Feb. 5 to March 4, per 100,000 population, there were 120.9 unvaccinated cases in hospital, 32.2 unvaccinated cases in ICU and 14 deaths among the unvaccinated, compared to 40.5 vaccinated (two-dose) cases in hospital, 9.9 vaccinated cases in ICU and 6.6 deaths among people with two doses.
Friday marked the first day in British Columbia without an order mandating masks be worn in indoor public places since the requirement was put back in place on Aug. 24.
While masks are no longer required by law in public areas, transit or ferries, they are still required on flights and individual businesses retain the right to require them on their premises.
On Thursday, provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry urged tolerance, patience and kindness to others around mask-wearing, noting that everyone’s circumstances — and risk from the virus — are different.
“We all have our own risk and we may not be aware of the risks of people around us, we need to be respectful about mask wearing, about people’s choices to keep their gatherings small or to stay outside rather than inside,” she said.
Since the start of the pandemic, B.C. has reported 352,039 total cases, while 2,935 people have died.