People attend Bowfest, an outdoor community event featuring a charity run, games, activities and live music on Bowen Island, B.C., on Saturday, August 28, 2021. As part of the COVID-19 restart plan in B.C. outdoor fairs and festivals of up to 5,000 people are permitted in the province. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

B.C. expecting to see COVID cases rise in September – even with latest restrictions

Vaccine cards, masks among recent measures brought in to slow the spread

Despite recent announcements requiring masks and proof of vaccination in many places across B.C., health officials expect cases to continue rising next month.

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry made the comment during an epidemiological update on Tuesday (Aug. 31). The day after reporting more than 1,800 cases over the weekend, Henry said that the models would only estimate up until the end of September, because looking further ahead was likely to be inaccurate.

The models took into account increasing vaccination rates – more than 76 per cent of eligible British Columbians are fully vaccinated – but also the more infectious Delta variant which Henry said may show “some indications that it may be lead to more hospitalizations in some people.”

However, despite rising immunization rates, Henry said that cases will continue to go up, even in new lower and moderate transmission scenarios, although hospitalizations are projected to stay below previous highs. As of Tuesday afternoon, there were 187 people in hospital, 103 of whom are in ICU – a number that’s risen in the past two months but remains well below the peak in the spring when more than 500 people were hospitalized. Since Friday, nine people have died due to the virus.

“We are likely to see a gradually steady increasing number of cases over the next month and slightly increasing hospitalizations over the next month, but not at the rate that we were seeing our daily maximum during the second and third waves of the pandemic,” she said, noting that vaccination was blunting the amount of severe disease B.C. could be seeing.

READ MORE: B.C. in COVID-19 ‘pandemic of unvaccinated,’ latest data show


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katya.slepian@bpdigital.ca

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