VANCOUVER — B.C. health officials announced 342 more cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday, the largest daily increase in the province’s caseload since late May.
Half of the latest cases, 171, were in the Interior Health region, which has been driving the recent surge in infections in B.C.
Wednesday’s numbers came in a written statement from the provincial Ministry of Health, and brought the rolling seven-day average of daily new cases detected in the province over 200 for the first time since early June.
The 342 new cases is the highest single-day total since May 27, when B.C. saw 378 new infections.
No new deaths were reported Wednesday. Since the pandemic began, there have been 150,973 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in B.C. and 1,772 deaths.
There are currently 1,764 active cases of the coronavirus in B.C. Of that total, 55 people are in hospital, 23 of them in intensive care.
Most of the active cases – 945 of them – are in Interior Health, where officials recently declared an outbreak and reimposed mandatory mask-wearing in the Central Okanagan local health area.
Elsewhere in the province, Fraser Health added 66 new cases on Wednesday, Vancouver Coastal Health added 57, Island Health added 32 and Northern Health added 13.
Three new infections reported Wednesday were found in people who normally reside outside Canada.
The Ministry of Health does not provide information in its daily case updates on how many people who tested positive have been vaccinated against COVID-19.
Asked last week whether the province would start providing that information, Health Minister Adrian Dix told reporters it’s reported differently within the provincial system and not easy to put out on a daily basis.
Health officials have repeatedly said that the vast majority of cases seen in the province are among unvaccinated people, with only about four per cent of infections coming in people who have had both shots and the necessary time to develop antibodies after the second.
The recent surge has largely been driven by Interior Health, where vaccination rates are lower. Experts have also pointed to the highly infectious Delta variant of the coronavirus as a reason for the surge.
Three new outbreaks of COVID-19 have recently been declared in care homes in the Interior Health region, according to Wednesday’s update.
Those outbreaks are at Kootenay Street Village in Cranbrook and Cottonwoods Care Centre and Brookhaven Care Centre, both in Kelowna.
The number of outbreaks in long-term care homes in B.C. has plummeted since the rollout of COVID-19 vaccines began in late December of last year.
As of Wednesday, 81.5 per cent of eligible people ages 12 and older had received at least a first dose of vaccine in B.C., and 67.9 per cent of that age group had received a second shot.