British Columbia has reported 689 new cases of COVID-19, with infections in the Interior Health region driving the upward trend.
There are currently 5,982 active cases of COVID-19 in the province.
The Interior Health region has more than double the number of active cases compared with the rest of the province’s health authorities.
The province also reported 121 hospitalizations, the highest since mid-June.
An independent B.C. COVID-19 modelling group said in a report published Wednesday that it expects hospitalizations to continue to rise and warns of the long-term impact of the Delta variant.
The group also forecasts a wave of COVID-19 cases in the fall, linked to a rise in Delta variant cases among children and youth.
It warned that if no action is taken to prevent COVID-19 infections during the fall, case counts are modelled to hit about 10 to 12,000 per day.
The group said if that was to happen, B.C.’s hospitals would be overrun with bed shortages.
The BC Teachers Federation said in a statement Thursday that it wants a provincewide mask mandate to start the school year, as well as ventilation improvements and cleaning of all high-touch surfaces during the school day.
“Given what we know about the highly contagious Delta variant, we need to err on the side of caution and return to schools with everyone wearing masks. Vaccinations are integral to safer schools, but can’t be our only line of defence,” said federation president Teri Mooring.
The Health Ministry also reported two new deaths Thursday, bringing the total number of fatalities to 1,784.
The province said in a statement that about 83 per cent of eligible people 12 years and older have received their first dose of COVID-19 vaccine and 74 per cent are fully vaccinated.
There are 11 active COVID-19 outbreaks in long-term care facilities in the province, including a new addition at the Heritage Village care home in Chilliwack, B.C.
Our Morning Update and Evening Update newsletters are written by Globe editors, giving you a concise summary of the day’s most important headlines. Sign up today.