COVID-19 hospitalizations in B.C. at new high since May

B.C. hospitals have 291 patients fighting COVID-19 – up three from yesterday

A health provider conducts a COVID-19 test |Getty Images

The number of COVID-19 infections in B.C. that are serious enough to merit hospital care has risen to 291 – higher than at any point since May.

Unvaccinated people have been driving the recent surge, as the vast majority of those hospitalized are not vaccinated. 

Data released today show that of the 390 hospitalizations in the two weeks ended September 14, there were:
• 318 not vaccinated (81.5%);
• 19 partially vaccinated (4.9%); and
• 53 fully vaccinated (13.6%).

Those most seriously infected among those in hospitals are put in intensive care units (ICUs). Some good news is that the number of those in ICUs fell by three overnight, to 134. Of those, 117 are not vaccinated, eight are partially vaccinated, and nine are fully vaccinated.

These numbers define unvaccinated as a person who either has not had a jab, or has not gone a full three weeks after a first dose. Partially vaccinated means a person who has had only one jab, or has not gone a full two weeks after the second dose. Fully vaccinated means a person who has gone two or more weeks after receiving a second dose of vaccine. 

Four additional people in B.C. succumbed to their COVID-19 infection, raising the province's pandemic death toll to 1,877.

In the past 24 hours, health officials detected 706 new infections, raising the number of those infected since the first case was detected in B.C. in late January, 2020, to 177,186.

More than 95.4%, or 169,083 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.

With new cases outpacing recoveries, an additional 53 people are battling active infections today, compared with yesterday, for a total of 5,844.

News on the vaccine front includes that drug makers have opted to name their vaccines, and are encouraging people to use those names instead of simply identifying vaccines by the name of the manufacturer. 

The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is now known Comirnaty, which the company says is a combination of the words COVID-19, mRNA, community and immunity. SpikeVax is the new name for the Moderna vaccine, while AstraZeneca is now calling its vaccine Vaxzevria.

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. A small group of about 15,000 people, who are considered extremely immunocompromised, are eligible for third doses of vaccine. Invitations for those people to get their third jabs are being sent. 

Health officials provided 14,208 doses of vaccine to British Columbians in the past day, with 6,891 of those being to unvaccinated individuals, and 7,317 going as needed second doses. No data was available for any third doses.

Of the 3,998,779 B.C. residents who have received one dose of vaccine, more than 91.3%, or 3,652,033 are fully vaccinated, with two doses.

The B.C. government estimated in July that the province's total population is 5,147,712, so Glacier Media's calculation is that nearly 77.7% of B.C.'s total population has had at least one dose of vaccine, and 70.9% of the province's total population has had two doses.

Government estimates are that 86.3% of B.C.'s eligible population, older than 12 years, has received one dose of vaccine, while 78.8% of that population is fully vaccinated with two doses. 

The health regions in B.C. with the highest number of new cases, and active cases on a per-capita basis, continue to be Northern Health and Interior Health. 

Glacier Media crunched the numbers for how many of the 706 cases identified in the past day were in each of the province's health regions. The result for the number of new infections for each 10,000 residents (with total new cases in brackets) was:
• 1.1 in Fraser Health (203);
• 0.8 in Vancouver Coastal Health (105);
• 2.9 in Interior Health (213);
• 3.5 in Northern Health (104); and
• 1 in Island Health (81).

The result by health region for the 5,844 people fighting active infections for each 10,000 residents (with total new cases in brackets) was:
• 9.9 in Fraser Health (1,784);
• 8.4 in Vancouver Coastal Health (1,051);
• 20.3 in Interior Health (1,504);
• 28.6 in Northern Health (857); and
• 7.5 in Island Health (638).

The active case counts include 10 people who normally live outside B.C.

One new health-care outbreak has been declared, at Menno Terrace East in Abbotsford. Officials consider the outbreaks at Nicola Meadows, in Merritt, and Rose Woods Village, in Trail, to be over. That leaves active outbreaks at 23 seniors' homes, and other health-care facilities, around the province.

There is some other new data that back up that unvaccinated individuals are driving what health officials call B.C.'s fourth wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The 4,914 cases in the week ended September 13 included:
• 3,347 (68.1%) unvaccinated;
• 391 (8%) partially vaccinated; and
• 1,176 (23.9%) fully vaccinated.

gkorstrom@biv.com

@GlenKorstrom