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B.C.'s COVID-19 daily death toll highest in more than a year

21 deaths is the highest total announced for a single day since December 25, 2020.
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The number of COVID-19 patients in B.C. hospitals hit a record high earlier this week

B.C. health officials know of 21 deaths in the past day in which the patient had COVID-19 – the highest total for a single day in more than a year.

The three times during the pandemic when the daily death toll from the disease was higher were all in December, 2020.

Health officials often do not break down each day's death toll when multiple days are reported at once. Ages for those who have died in the past day were not immediately available. 

A high number of deaths is what some consider a lagging metric to track the seriousness of the disease, as the indicator tends to follow high numbers of people in hospital, which in turn follows high numbers of people getting infected. 

The number of those hospitalized with COVID-19 in B.C. fell for the second day in a row, to 949, and this was the first time that hospitalizations have fallen two days in a row in more than six weeks. The province had a record 987 COVID-19 patients in hospitals on Jan. 24.

Of those hospitalized, 136 are in intensive care units (ICUs), which is down by six from yesterday.

Testing centres across B.C. were overwhelmed in December, as health officials were diagnosing record-high numbers of new cases. As such, Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry told vaccinated people with mild illnesses to self-isolate and not get tested. Some people who went to testing centres were sent away without take-home tests if they did not meet certain criteria. As a result, the province's daily new case counts are seen by many as unreliable.

Regardless, health officials were able to detect 2,086 new cases in the past day. That lowers the number of known active cases to 30,058.

Henry has recently been stressing that older individuals are at particular risk of serious illness and death from COVID-19, as are people who are unvaccinated. 

The risk that seniors face is of particular concern given that the number of seniors' homes and other health-care facilities has recently stayed above 60. 

There are 61 known outbreaks in those facilities, thanks to five new outbreaks and seven outbreaks being declared over. 

Provincial data show 4,468,955 B.C. residents have had at least one dose of vaccine, while 93.3 per cent of those, or 4,168,816 are considered fully vaccinated with two doses. There were 42,170 people given booster, or third, doses of vaccine in the past day, for a total of 1,954,292.

The B.C. government last year estimated that the province's total population is 5,147,712. Hence, Glacier Media's calculation is that 86.8 per cent of B.C.'s total population has had at least one dose of vaccine, and 81 per cent of the province's total population has had two doses.  Almost 38 per cent have had their booster doses. •