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B.C.'s COVID-19 hospitalizations surpass 100 for first time since June

104 COVID-19 patients sick enough to be in hospital; 47 in intensive care units.
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The number of COVID-19 hospitalizations has been slowly rising across B.C. | Mike Howell

Surging numbers of new COVID-19 infections in B.C. during the past month has started to translate into a rise in hospitalizations. 

The province now has 104 people sick enough to need hospital treatment for their COVID-19 infection, or a net total of 22 additional people compared with the last data update, on August 13. This is the highest number since June 30, when 108 people filled B.C. hospitals with the disease. During that time, the province on July 26 hit a low of 43 COVID-19 patients in hospitals.

More serious hospitalizations are also rising fast, with the number of those in intensive care units (ICUs) rising to 47, or a net total of eight more people than were in those units three days ago. That is the highest number since June 21, and it is more than quadruple the 11 people who filled ICUs across B.C. as recently as July 14.

Fortunately, the number of deaths has not yet started to surge, with health officials reporting one new death in the past three days.

It was not immediately clear what percentage of COVID-19 patients in B.C. hospitals have been fully vaccinated, but provincial health officer Bonnie Henry last week said that about 4% of COVID-19 patients in hospitals were fully vaccinated, and had gone more than a week since their second jab.

The spike in new cases slowed during the weekend, with:
• 532 cases detected on August 14;
• 441 cases detected on August 15; and
• 461 cases detected on August 16.

On August 13, the province reported 717 new infections

The number of those actively battling infections province-wide has risen to 5,090 – the highest number since May 14, when there were 5,548 people infected and not yet considered to be recovered. 

More than 95.6%, or 149,553, of the 156,513 people known to have contracted COVID-19 in B.C. are considered by the province to have recovered because they have gone 10 days after first feeling symptoms, and are therefore not thought to be infectious.

Most new and active infections are in the hard-hit Interior Health region, where residents have also had to endure the double whammy of COVID-19 outbreaks and raging wildfires that have prompted emergency evacuations, fears for personal safety and air quality so bad that the sky in places has turned a dark orange in the middle of the day.

Here is a breakdown of where the 1,434 new COVID-19 infections, detected in the past three days, are located in B.C.:
• 316 in Fraser Health (22%);
• 198 in Vancouver Coastal Health (13.8%);
• 734 in Interior Health (51.2%);
• 74 in Northern Health (5.2%); and
• 112 in Island Health (7.8%).

The 5,090 active infections, include: 
• 882 in Fraser Health (17.3%);
• 715 in Vancouver Coastal Health (14%);
• 2,982 in Interior Health (58.6%);
• 197 in Northern Health (3.8%);
• 307 in Island Health (6%); and
• seven people who normally reside outside B.C.

Vaccinations are helping limit the spread of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, which causes COVID-19, although the pace of B.C.'s vaccination campaign has slowed, as most eligible residents are now fully vaccinated. 

British Columbians received 67,086 new doses of vaccine in the past three days, with 11,385 of those being first doses, and 55,701 being needed second doses. In July, that many doses of vaccine were often provided in a single day.

Of the 3,830,337 B.C. residents who have received at least one dose of vaccine, 88.6%, or 3,393,049, are fully vaccinated. 

The B.C. government estimated in February that the province's total population is 5,147,712, so that means that nearly 74.4% of B.C.'s total population has had at least one dose of vaccine, and more than 65.9% of the province's total population has had two doses.

The government's math holds that 82.6% of the province's eligible population, aged 12 years and older, has been vaccinated at least once, with 73.2% of eligible people being fully vaccinated.

The outbreak at the Holyrood Manor seniors' home in Maple Ridge has been declared over.

Three new outbreaks have been detected at seniors' homes:
• Village at Mill Creek (second floor) in Kelowna;
• Hawthorn Park in Kelowna; and
• David Lloyd Jones long-term care home in Kelowna.

Existing outbreaks at seniors' homes continue at:
• Evergreen Baptist Care Society in White Rock;
• KinVillage West Court in South Delta;
• Discovery Harbour in Campbell River;
• Kootenay Street Village in Cranbrook;
• Cottonwoods Care Centre in Kelowna;
• Brookhaven Care Centre in West Kelowna;
• Nelson Jubilee Manor in Nelson.

gkorstrom@biv.com

@GlenKorstrom