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B.C. has fewer COVID-19 patients in hospitals, ICUs

50 new COVID-19 deaths counted in past week
Ambulance entrance - getty - paul burns
Ambulance attendants rush a patient into hospital

New data show B.C. has fewer COVID-19 patients in hospitals and in the intensive care units (ICUs) of those hospitals. 

There are 550 COVID-19 patients in B.C. hospitals today, with 39 of those in ICUs, according to new British Columbia Centre for Disease Control data.

That is down from 570 COVID-19 patients in B.C. hospitals one week ago, when 47 of those were in ICUs, the BCCDC said on April 28.

These counts include people who went to hospital because of bad COVID-19 infections, and those who went to hospital for other reasons and then tested positive for the SARS-CoV-2 virus, which causes COVID-19.

The BCCDC's death counts have not added up for weeks. This week, the BCCDC said there were 50 new COVID-19 deaths in the week that ended April 30. This is despite the province's official COVID-19 death toll rising by 79.

In early April, when the province shifted from providing daily COVID-19 data updates to providing weekly updates, a change was made in how such deaths were calculated. The new system is that all deaths are supposed to be counted if the person tested positive for the virus in the past 30 days, and then died. This system includes car accidents. 

Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said in early April that the new system would overcount deaths initially, and that the death toll would then be altered weeks or months later when the province's Vital Statistics Agency confirms that deaths are not related to COVID-19. Because of this, the expectation was that the death toll would be revised down on a weekly basis, not up, as it is doing right now. 

Data for new infections has long been widely dismissed, and even Henry has called it "not accurate." This is because in December she started telling people who were vaccinated and had mild symptoms to not get tested and to simply self-isolate. She said at the time that this was to increase testing capacity for those with more serious symptoms and those who are more vulnerable. 

Nonetheless, the BCCDC said 2,283 new infections were detected in the week up to April 30. With 27,127 tests conducted, that works out to be an 8.42-per-cent positive-test rate. 

In the week up until April 23, there were 26,923 tests said to be conducted, and 2,276 infections, for a nearly identical 8.45-per-cent positive-test rate.

The province still keeps track of how many known infections there have been since January 2020, and that count has risen by 2,275, to 365,577, despite the 2,283 new known infections. In the past, when there were numerical discrepancies, provincial health officials told Glacier Media that the count only includes people who are alive. They have also said that data is "tentative."

When the B.C. government released daily COVID-19 updates, it also revealed the number of active outbreaks in health-care facilities and seniors' homes. That information is no longer part of the COVID-19 updates. •