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COVID-19 hospitalizations in B.C. keep drifting lower

Five more COVID-19 deaths raise B.C.'s pandemic death toll to 2,781.
Health-care worker - getty images morsa
A doctor wears protective equipment to prevent catching COVID-19

COVID-19 hospitalizations in B.C. fell in the eighth consecutive provincial data update, to 744 – 18 fewer than yesterday.

This is the lowest count since Jan. 14, which was the day after the province changed how it counted COVID-19 hospital patients, and started to include people thought to be no longer infectious because they had gone more than 10 days after first feeling symptoms.

The counts also then started to include incidental infections, or people who went to hospital for a different reason than COVID-19, and then tested positive for the disease while in hospital – often when asymptomatic.

Of the 744 COVID-19 patients in B.C. hospitals, 120 are in intensive care units (ICUs) – one fewer than yesterday. 

COVID-19-related deaths continue to rack up, with five more people losing their lives to the disease that spawned a global pandemic. 

That increases B.C.'s pandemic death toll to 2,781. 

Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry has been stressing that elderly people older than 80, regardless of vaccination status, have shown to have the most frequent incidences of severe infections, with many ending in death.

So it is good news is that the number of outbreaks at health-care facilities and seniors' homes has fallen overnight by four, to 32, as there were three new outbreaks and seven outbreaks newly declared to be over. 

Provincial data show 4,508,740 eligible B.C. residents older than five years have had at least one dose of vaccine, while 4,261,431 are considered fully vaccinated with two doses. 

There were 13,779 people given booster, or third, doses of vaccine in the past day, for a total of 2,482,432. 

Statistics Canada data released last week relayed that in the 2021 census, B.C.'s population had increased 7.6 per cent between 2016 and 2021, and that the new total number of residents is 5,000,879.

Glacier Media's calculation therefore is that slightly more than 90.1 per cent of B.C.'s total population has had at least one dose of vaccine, and more than 85.2 per cent of the province's total population has had two doses. More than 49.6 per cent have had their booster doses. 

Between Feb. 9 and Feb. 15, people not fully vaccinated with two doses accounted for 22.4 per cent of cases, according to government data. Between Feb. 2 and Feb. 15, those individuals accounted for 31.4 per cent of hospitalizations

Henry has been telling vaccinated people with mild symptoms to self-isolate and not get tested in order to reserve testing capacity for those who have more serious cases or who are clinically vulnerable. As a result, she called case count data "not accurate," and the province has stopped reporting data for how many people in B.C. they believe are actively infected, and how many are thought to have recovered.

It still reports the number of presumed new cases, and in the past 24 hours officials have confirmed 782 new cases from 8,377 tests for a 9.33 per cent positive-test rate. 

There are thought to have been at least 343,063 British Columbians who have contracted COVID-19. •

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