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B.C. records 11 new COVID-19 deaths; hospitalizations keep rising

More COVID-19 patients are in B.C. ICUs than any time since May 7.
COVID patient - getty images
A nurse comforts a COVID-19 patient in hospital

The undertow of B.C.'s fourth wave of COVID-19 infections is being felt with considerable numbers of people being sick enough to be in B.C. hospitals, intensive care units (ICUs) and, unfortunately, dying. 

Provincial officials know of 11 more COVID-19-related deaths in the past three days, raising the province's pandemic death toll to 1,899.

Considerable resources at B.C. hospitals are being spent, treating 307 COVID-19 patients, with 156 of those individuals sick enough to be in ICUs.

There have not been this many COVID-19 patients in B.C. hospitals since May 21. ICU wards have not been as filled with COVID-19 patients since May 7.

Health Minister Adrian Dix tweeted out statistics that show that of the 156 COVID-19 patients in ICU, 139 (89.1%) are not vaccinated, six (3.8%) are partially vaccinated with one dose of vaccine, and 11 (7.1%) are fully vaccinated. 

This is despite the vast majority of British Columbians being vaccinated, and means that a small proportion of the population is responsible for the lion's share of serious infections.

The B.C. government estimated in July that the province's total population is 5,147,712, and Glacier Media's calculation is that almost 78.2% of B.C.'s total population has had at least one dose of vaccine, and nearly 71.5% of the province's total population has had two doses.

Government estimates are that 86.8% of B.C.'s eligible population, older than 12 years, has received one dose of vaccine, while 79.4% of that population is fully vaccinated with two doses. 

Of the 4,024,302 B.C. residents who have had one dose of vaccine, 3,679,181, or 91.4%, are considered fully vaccinated, with two doses.

The data Dix shared also relayed an age breakdown. The most common age group for the COVID-19 patients now in B.C. ICUs is 50-59, where there are 46 (29.5%) of the 156 patients. The next highest age group for the wards is 60-69 years, with 45 (28.8%).

The vast majority of the 5,608 people actively battling infections in the province have been told to self-isolate, but there remains a risk that more will require hospitalization. There were 1,692 people diagnosed with COVID-19 in the past three days in B.C.

That includes: 
• 644 on September 18;
• 613 on September 19; and
• 435 in the past 24 hours. 

There often tends to be fewer cases detected into Mondays, because of less testing on Sundays. Today's count of 435 new infections in a single day, however, is the lowest total for a day since August 10. The B.C. government called that number "provisional," so there is a chance that it could be increased.

In total, 179,646 people are known to have contracted COVID-19 in the nearly 20 months since the first case was confirmed in the province.

More than 95.6%, or 171,769 of those, are deemed by the province to have recovered because they have gone 10 days after first feeling symptoms, and are therefore not thought to be infectious.

Vaccinations in B.C. continue at a reduced pace, compared to a few months ago, because the vast majority of residents have already received their two needed doses.

Health officials in B.C. provided 35,912 doses of vaccine to British Columbians in the past three days, with 16,226 of those being to unvaccinated individuals, and 19,686 going as needed second doses.

There was no data on how many third doses of vaccine have been provided. Last week, approximately 15,000 people who are extremely vulnerable as a result of being immunocompromised started to receive invitations to get third doses of vaccine to boost their bodies' antibody counts.

Officials have been strongly urging residents to get vaccinated because evidence shows that vaccines are effective in deterring infections, and causing less severe infections when there is transmission. 

Other new data released today show that of the 401 hospitalizations in the two weeks ended September 16, there were:
• 319 not vaccinated (79.6%);
• 22 partially vaccinated (5.5%); and
• 60 fully vaccinated (15%).

After factoring for age, people not vaccinated are 32.2 times more likely to be hospitalized than those fully vaccinated, according to the province.

The 4,749 cases in the week ended September 16 included:
• 3,268 (68.8%) unvaccinated;
• 355 (7.5%) partially vaccinated; and
• 1,126 (23.7%) fully vaccinated.

For every 100,000 people in B.C. who are unvaccinated, government data show that 313 were infected between September 10 and 16. For every 100,000 people in B.C. who have had one shot of vaccine, there were 91.6 new cases, and for every 100,000 fully vaccinated British Columbians, there were only 28.6 new cases.

Health outcomes can be worse for those who are elderly, so it remains a concern that B.C. has 21 active outbreaks in seniors' homes and other healthcare facilities.

One new outbreak has been declared at Overlander Residential Care in Kamloops. •