B.C.’s COVID-19 situation has turned into a “pandemic of the unvaccinated,” provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said Tuesday, as the province released its latest data modelling.
The latest results show that 70 per cent of the summer surge of new cases are in unvaccinated people aged 20 to 40. The data presented by Henry on Aug. 31 indicate that while a regional outbreak in the Central Okanagan has levelled off, new hot spots have emerged in other Interior Health communities including Golden, Creston, Nelson, Grand Forks, Enderby and Vernon.
Other high-infection-rate communities include the Nisga’a and Nechako regions in Northern Health, and Mission, Agassiz-Harrison and Chilliwack in Fraser Health. On Vancouver Island, Alberni-Clayoquot, Comox Valley and Greater Nanaimo showed higher rates.
Henry cautioned that those rates vary considerably, with some remote communities having high rates but small total numbers of infected people due to population size.
With schools and colleges preparing to return to in-class instruction next week, the latest COVID-19 infection data show the transmission rate of people aged 19 and under remains low, despite a spike in new infections across B.C. during August. Henry said reports from the U.S. Centres for Disease Control are showing that transmission between young people is mainly determined by overall community vaccination rates.
Vaccinations have prevented thousands of hospital cases in B.C., Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix have emphasized as they push for higher immunization rates. The regional health authorities have arranged more than 120 drop-in and community clinics around the province, most of them running in early September. (See full list by region here.)