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Active COVID-19 infections in B.C. fall to three-month low

B.C. ICUs have not had fewer COVID-19 patients since September 1.
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A gradual decline in the number of new COVID-19 infections in B.C. has pushed the number of those thought to be actively battling the disease to 3,837 – the lowest number since August 12, more than three months ago. 

B.C. health officials detected 381 new COVID-19 cases in the past 24 hours, which is the lowest number since November 1. It comes on the heels of 387 cases detected on November 14, and 502 on November 13 for a total of 1,270 new infections since the last update on Friday.

Of the 213,020 people known to have contacted COVID-19 in B.C., the province considers 206,665 to have recovered because, in most cases, they have gone 10 days after first feeling symptoms and are therefore not thought to be infectious. 

COVID-19 hospitalizations have fallen in tandem with fewer infections. 

There are now 376 COVID-19 patients in B.C. hospitals, which is the lowest number since October 25. Of those, 116 are in intensive care units (ICUs). The last time the province had fewer COVID-19 patients in ICUs was on September 1.

Unfortunately, B.C. continues to grapple with relatively high numbers of people dying from COVID-19, as 16 souls lost their lives to the disease in the past three days. That makes 55 deaths in the past week, up from 37 deaths in the prior week. 

The new deaths include:
• one in Fraser Health;
• two in Vancouver Coastal Health;
• two in Interior Health;
• three in Northern Health; and
• eight in Island Health.

The slowdown in infections and hospitalizations follow the province loosening COVID-19 restrictions for those who are fully vaccinated, and allowing sporting events such as hockey games to operate at full capacity. 

The move to require proof of vaccination to enter restaurants and other venues may be partly responsible for the steady increase in the percentage of the eligible population that is vaccinated. 

Another 4,682 people in the province received their first vaccination in the past three days, while 10,753 others received needed second doses. That raises the number of people in B.C. with at least one dose of vaccine to 4,203,257, with 4,021,455 of those being fully vaccinated with two doses. 

The province's math shows that this is 90.7% of the eligible population having at least one dose of vaccine, while 86.8% of the population has had two doses. Provincial health officer Bonnie Henry has said that as the percentage of the population in B.C. rises, the risk of infection for everyone declines. 

The relatively small number of unvaccinated people continue to be the ones hardest hit by the pandemic. 

Between October 29 and November 11, unvaccinated people accounted for 66.9% of hospitalizations, according to government data. 

Older people also endure more serious bouts of COVID-19, which is why the government has required those who work in seniors' homes to be fully vaccinated. Nonetheless, B.C. has 23 active outbreaks at health-care facilities and seniors' homes. 

No new outbreaks have been detected in the past three days, and ones at Mission Memorial Hospital, and Cherington Place in Surrey are newly declared to be over. 

The 1,270 new cases include:
• 417 in Fraser Health;
• 121 in Vancouver Coastal Health;
• 275 in Interior Health;
• 274 in Northern Health; and
• 183 in Island Health.

The 3,837 active cases include:
• 1,325 in Fraser Health;
• 474 in Vancouver Coastal Health;
• 762 in Interior Health;
• 641 in Northern Health;
• 576 in Island Health; and
• 59 people who normally reside outside B.C.•