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COVID-19 hospitalizations in B.C. highest since February

Province has 46 more COVID-19 patients in hospitals than it had a week ago
burnaby hospital
COVID-19 hospitalizations in B.C. have stayed below 600 since February 24, when there were 612 such patients

The number of COVID-19 patients in B.C. hospitals has risen by 46 in the past week, to 596 today – the highest count since February 25, when there were 599 such patients. 

The province has included in its COVID-19 hospitalization counts hospital patients who contracted the disease while already in hospital since January 14. Before that date, the only COVID-19 patients counted were those who went to hospital for a COVID-19 infection and had not yet gone 10 days since the onset of symptoms.

Of those with COVID-19 in B.C. hospitals, 54 are sick enough to be in intensive care units (ICUs.) That is the highest number of COVID-19 patients in B.C. ICUs since March 9, when 58 people were sick enough to be in those units. 

The BC Centre for Disease Control's (BC CDC) counts for COVID-19 deaths in the most recent week, and for the COVID-19 death toll have not been in sync since the province switched to issuing weekly data updates, instead of daily ones, starting April 7.

In new data released today for the week that ended May 7, the BC CDC lists 54 new COVID-19 deaths despite the COVID-19 death toll rising by 81.

When the province shifted to providing weekly COVID-19 data updates it changed how those deaths were calculated. The new system is that all deaths are counted if the person tested positive for the virus in the past 30 days, and then died – a calculation that would include 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 some deaths are not related to COVID-19. Because of this, her expectation was that the new weekly death totals would be high, with the death toll in the future being revised down. Instead, inexplicably, it is the death toll that has consistently outpaced the number of newly added deaths. 

When Glacier Media asked the B.C. Ministry of Health about this, an official said that the reason was that death totals were "tentative."

Data for new infections has long been widely dismissed, and even Henry earlier this year 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 BC CDC said 1,987 new infections were detected in the week up to May 7. That compares with 2,283 known new infections in the week that ended April 30.

In that week up to May 7, provincial officials conducted 25,496 tests, down from 27,127 in the previous week. That pushes the province's positive-test rate down to 7.79 per cent in the week ended May 7, from 8.42 per cent the previous week. 

Henry was asked at a May 10 press conference about her expectation for the spread of COVID-19 in B.C.

"I think we're going to be in a period of relative ease for the next little," she said. "We're going to see a surge in the fall." •