This chart shows the number of people in B.C. hospitalized for treatment of COVID-19 throughout 2021 based on whether they are unvaccinated (left) or fully vaccinated (right).

New cases of COVID-19 in the Central Okanagan have dropped significantly after two weeks of rising numbers.

An average of 20 people a day tested positive for the disease last week in greater Kelowna, down from 32 the previous week.

New cases of COVID-19 had been falling steadily from a mid-August pandemic peak of 131 new infections a day in mid-August to 17 by the end of October. Daily infection numbers then rose to 25 and 32 before falling back again last week.

New weekly case counts also declined in Vernon, to 44 cases last week from 75 the previous week. New infections in Penticton also dropped, from 18 two weeks ago to 15 last week.

In Kamloops, where Royal Inland Hospital has been struggling with an on-going outbreak, some good news is evident, with the number of people who tested positive for the disease last week falling to 92 from 132 the previous week.

Across the entire Interior Health region, the incidence of COVID-19 has fallen from 96 cases per 100,000 of population two weeks ago to 63 cases per 100,000 of population last week.

Each of the four other main heath regions also experienced declines in the incidence of COVID-19, the BC Centre for Disease Control says in its most recent situation report, published Wednesday.

“Provincial COVID-19 incidence continues to decline; hospital admissions decrease, ICU admissions and deaths stable,” the agency says in its summary of the current state of the pandemic.

Whether people are vaccinated remains the most significant predictor in terms of their chance of catching COVID-19 and requiring hospitalization for treatment of the disease, the BC CDC says.

Unvaccinated people have a 16 times greater chance than vaccinated people of being hospitalized for COVID-19, the agency says.

Many of those who are fully vaccinated yet still require hospitalization after testing positive for COVID-19 are aged 80 or older as the efficacy of immunization can be less for people in this age group, provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry has said.