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B.C. releases first weekly COVID-19 update

Data for deaths conflicts with previously released information.
Burnaby hospital
Burnaby Hospital has had many COVID-19 patients during the pandemic

The BC Centre for Disease Control released its first weekly COVID-19 update today, with data for some metrics only up to April 2. 

The biggest surprise in the numbers was that for deaths, because it conflicts with previously released information.

Today's update said that there were 11 deaths in the week between March 27 and April 2, and that this raised the province's pandemic death toll to 3,004. The government in previous daily data updates listed 13 deaths between March 28 and April 1. In addition, it listed that there were six deaths sometime between March 26 and March 28, so some deaths were possible on March 27. 

The previous death toll was 3,002 deaths as of April 1, so that would mean that there were two additional deaths on April 2.

The total of 11 deaths listed for the week of March 27 to April 2 is also lower than expected because Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry on April 5 said that the weekly death totals would over-report the number of deaths thanks to a new automated system for counting. 

The new system reports all new deaths of people who at some point in the past month tested positive for COVID-19. Then, perhaps months later, when information from B.C.'s Vital Statistics Agency (VSA) arrives, deaths that were deemed not due to COVID-19 are to be removed from the total. This means that someone who tests positive for COVID-19 and then gets killed in a car accident would be listed as a COVID-19 death until the VSA confirms that it was not a COVID-19 death.

The previous system involved manual work to determine whether each death was due to COVID-19.

The number of those now in hospital who have tested positive for COVID-19 is 324, down by five from yesterday. Henry on April 5 said that about half of B.C.'s COVID-19 hospital patients were there because of their illness, while the rest were in hospital for a different reason, and tested positive for COVID-19 while there.

Of those COVID-19-positive patients, 38 are in intensive care units (ICUs,) which is one more than yesterday.

Health officials know of 1,706 COVID-19 infections in the week ended April 2, stemming from 29,240 tests, for a 5.83-per-cent positive test rate.

The BCCDC's dashboard, which provides the weekly update, does not list new and active outbreaks at health-care facilities and seniors' homes.