COVID-19 hospitalizations in B.C. fall to nine-week low

Another dozen people have died from the virus in the past day, raising the death toll in B.C. to 1,184 individuals

Provincial health officer Bonnie Henry regularly provides updates on COVID-19 spread in B.C. | B.C. government

The number of British Columbians suffering COVID-19 infections severe enough to be in hospital dropped for the third consecutive day, to 291 – the lowest total since November 24, more than nine weeks ago. 

This is a key metric in the fight against the virus that has spawned a global pandemic because one of the government's main objectives is to ensure sufficient hospital beds to treat patients if a spike arises. Of those hospitalized, 75 are in intensive care units. 

Some bad news from the government is that it expects fewer doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine to be delivered by the end of March than originally promised.

"Early indications are that the number of trays of vaccine that B.C. will be receiving from the federal government during Phase 1 and 2 of our COVID-19 Immunization plan will be reduced from 557 trays to 485 trays," B.C.'s Ministry of Health said in a statement to BIV.

That translates into about 472,875 doses instead of an expected 543,075 doses, as each tray has 975 doses.

Despite not getting any new doses of vaccine this week, an additional 2,890 doses of vaccine were administered in the past day. Health officials have vaccinated a total of 123,070 people with the vaccine, including 4,185 people who have received two doses.

New infections, however, continue to pile up.

Another 546 infections have been detected in the past day, with that being the highest number in a week. In total, 66,265 people in B.C. have contracted COVID-19 since the first case was identified exactly one year ago today, on January 28, 2020.

The breakdown of where the 546 new cases are located is as follows:

  • 174 people in Vancouver Coastal Health (31.8%);
  • 218 people in Fraser Health (40%);
  • 30 in Island Health (5.5%);
  • 70 in Interior Health (12.8%);
  • 51 in Northern Health (9.3%); and
  • three people who reside outside Canada.

The virus claimed an additional 12 lives in B.C. in the past day, raising the death toll in the province to 1,184.

More than 89.2%, or 59,141 people are considered recovered from the virus, after having tested negative at least twice.

The number of people actively fighting infections rose by 156 overnight, and now sits at 4,455. 

Health officials are actively monitoring an additional 7,176 people because they are known to have been exposed to infected individuals.

Provincial health officer Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix continue to strongly advice against any non-essential travel outside of the local community. 

"Equally important, all businesses that can accommodate employees to work from home should ensure that continues," they said in a joint statement. "The fewer people you see, the safer everyone will be."

New healthcare facility outbreaks have been discovered at Bradley Centre in Chilliwack, and Concord by the Sea in White Rock. 

Outbreaks at Chilliwack General Hospital, KinVillage and KinVillage West Court in Tsawwassen, and at Rideau Retirement Residence in Burnaby, have been declared over.

There remain nine B.C. hospitals identified as having active COVID-19 outbreaks. They are:

  • Burnaby Hospital in Burnaby;
  • Cariboo Memorial Hospital in Williams Lake;
  • Mount St. Joseph's Hospital in Vancouver;
  • Nanaimo Regional General Hospital in Nanaimo;
  • Royal Columbian Hospital in New Westminster;
  • Royal Inland Hospital in Kamloops;
  • St. Paul's Hospital in Vancouver;
  • Surrey Memorial Hospital in Surrey; and
  • University Hospital of Northern B.C. in Prince George.

The three active outbreaks at seniors' living facilities in Vancouver Coastal Health are at:

  • Hilltop House in Squamish;
  • Little Mountain Place in Vancouver; and
  • Minoru Residence in Richmond.

There are 15 active outbreaks at seniors' living facilities in Fraser Health. They are at:

  • Brookside Lodge in Surrey;
  • Bradley Centre in Chilliwack;
  • Concord By the Sea in White Rock;
  • Eagle Ridge Manor in Port Moody;
  • Evergreen Baptist Care Society in White Rock;
  • George Derby Centre in Burnaby;
  • Glenwood Seniors Community in Agassiz;
  • Hilton Villa Seniors Community in Surrey;
  • Madison Care Centre in Coquitlam;
  • Mayfair Seniors Living Care in Abbotsford;
  • Morgan Place Care Facility in Surrey
  • Nicola Lodge in Port Coquitlam;
  • Royal City Manor in New Westminster;
  • St. Michael's Centre Extended Care in Burnaby; and
  • Suncreek Village in Surrey.

The two active outbreaks at a seniors' living facilities in Northern Health are at Jubilee Lodge in Prince George, and Acropolis Manor in Prince Rupert.

The six active outbreaks at seniors' living facilities in Interior Health are at:

  • Brocklehurst Gemstone Care Centre in Kamloops;
  • Creekside Landing in Vernon;
  • Heritage Retirement Residence in West Kelowna;
  • Heritage Square in Vernon;
  • Noric House in Vernon; and
  • Sunnybank Retirement Home in Oliver.

The only outbreak at a seniors' facility in Island Health is at Chartwell Malaspina Care Residence in Nanaimo.

gkorstrom@biv.com

@GlenKorstrom