The total number of COVID-19-related deaths in British Columbia topped 3,000 on Friday, as the province reported four more fatalities and the fewest cases in intensive care since early August.
There were 274 cases in hospital, an overnight drop of seven, including 35 in critical or intensive care, the fewest since Aug. 11.
Since the pandemic began, B.C. has reported 3,002 deaths.
Health officials also reported 357 new cases on Friday, a jump of more than 100 from the number of new cases on Thursday. Restricted access to PCR testing, however, means daily case counts do not provide an accurate measure of the virus’ spread.
As of Friday, 87.9 per cent of B.C.’s population (90.9 per cent of those eligible) had received one dose of COVID-19 vaccine, 84.5 per cent of British Columbians (87.4 per cent of those eligible) had received two doses and 51.8 per cent of B.C.’s population (57.6 per cent of those eligible) had received three doses.
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People with two or more doses accounted for 82 per cent of new cases in the past week and 79.1 per cent of hospitalizations over the past two weeks.
Monthly B.C. CDC data continues to show unvaccinated people at a significantly higher risk of severe outcomes.
From Feb. 26 to March 25, per 100,000 population, among unvaccinated people there were 64.8 cases in hospital, 11.3 unvaccinated cases in ICU and 6.8 deaths, compared to 26.3 cases in hospital, 4.1 cases in ICU and 2.8 deaths among people with two or more doses.
On Friday, the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) warned that COVID-19 would remain an issue for the “foreseeable future,” amid concern of a sixth wave driven by the more-transmissible Omicron BA.2 variant.
PHAC has measured an uptick in cases in a number of regions, with a 28 per cent increase in daily average case counts as of March 31.
Friday also marked a major change in COVID-19 border policy, with the elimination of the requirement for vaccinated travellers to provide a negative molecular test to enter the country.
Since the start of the pandemic, B.C. has reported a total of 356,501 cases.
— With files from Global’s Rachel Gilmore