B.C.’s fourth wave of COVID-19 infection spread is showing signs of levelling off, with 823 cases recorded Saturday, 641 on Sunday and 520 on Monday.
There were nine more coronavirus-related deaths reported over the weekend, for a total of 1,865 since the pandemic began. Three of the deaths were in the Fraser Health region, three in Interior Health, two on Vancouver Island and one in Vancouver Coastal.
There are 278 people in B.C. hospitals as of Monday, Sept. 13, down from 281 Friday, and 139 in intensive care units, up three from Friday. Health Minister Adrian Dix said 38 of those people are under age 50, and 37 of those are not fully vaccinated, and pressure on hospitals continues to be severe.
Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said a new public health order takes effect Oct. 26, making COVID-19 vaccination “a condition of employment” for health care staff, contractors and volunteers who work in health care facilities. The health ministry has required health care workers to provide their vaccination status to their employer, with the original plan to require those who are not vaccinated to submit to coronavirus testing before each work day.
As of Oct. 26, any “rare” medical or religious exemption claims will be reviewed by an expert panel and must be approved for employment to continue, Henry said. Anyone who chooses not to be vaccinated will be placed on unpaid leave, she said.
The B.C. vaccine card for access to restaurants, indoor sports events and fitness and recreation groups took effect Monday. Dix said more than two million people have downloaded the digital version of the card.
B.C. health authorities continue to operate scheduled appointment and walk-in COVID-19 vaccination clinics around the province. A full list of clinic locations and hours by region can be found here. Registration and booking appointments in B.C. can be done here, or by calling 1-833-838-2323 between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. seven days a week.
The new and active cases include:
• 609 new cases in Fraser Health, 1,711 active
• 319 new cases in Vancouver Coastal Health, 945 active
• 542 new cases in Interior Health, 1,618 active
• 294 new cases in Northern Health, 931 active
• 220 new cases in Island Health, 607 active