B.C.'s COVID-19 hospitalizations fall to 612

Nine new deaths raises B.C.'s pandemic death toll to 2,840

A COVID-19 patient is in hospital | Photo: Getty Images / Halfpoint Images

The number of COVID-19 patients in B.C. hospitals has fallen to 612.

This comes from declines in each government data update since Feb. 7. It is also the lowest total since Jan. 13, which was the day before the province broadened the way it counts COVID-19 hospital patients.

The new way of counting those patients includes those who have gone longer than 10 days since first feeling symptoms, and are therefore no longer deemed infectious, as well as those who contracted the disease while in hospital for another reason. The broadened counts also include people who normally reside outside B.C. 

Health officials say they believe that the peak of the Omicron variant's wave of infections has long passed, and that hospitalizations should continue to decline. 

Of the COVID-19 patients in hospitals, 102 are in intensive care units (ICUs) – the fewest since Jan.17.

Nine more people lost their lives to the disease in the past 24 hours, according to the government. That raises the province's pandemic death toll to 2,840.

The government did not reveal any demographic details about the people who died from COVID-19 overnight, but Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said yesterday that most of the recent COVID-19 deaths have been people who have underlying conditions and are older. 

She added that younger people are dying too.

"In the last few days, we've had four people in their 40s who have died from COVID-19 [in B.C.,]" Henry said. "That's important. It reminds us that everybody has risk. Right now, we still have high levels of transmission, and if you don't have the protection that vaccine gives you, there is a possibility of having more severe illness and ending up in hospital."

Health officials have been telling vaccinated people with mild symptoms to self-isolate and not get tested in order to reserve testing capacity for those who have more serious cases or who are clinically vulnerable. As a result, Henry has called case count data "not accurate," and the province has stopped reporting data for how many people in B.C. they believe are actively infected, and how many are thought to have recovered.

The province still reports the number of presumed new cases, and in the past 24 hours officials have confirmed 597 new cases.

There are thought to have been at least 346,793 British Columbians who have contracted COVID-19 since the first case was detected in late January 2020. 

There are 29 active outbreaks at health-care facilities and seniors' homes – the same number as yesterday. No new outbreaks were declared, and no outbreaks were declared over.

Between Feb. 16 and Feb. 22, people not fully vaccinated with two doses accounted for 20.6 per cent of cases, according to government data. Between Feb. 9 and Feb. 22, those individuals accounted for 33.4 per cent of hospitalizations.

Provincial data show 4,513,956 eligible B.C. residents older than five years have had at least one dose of vaccine, while 4,287,016 are considered fully vaccinated with two doses. 

Henry noted yesterday that the number of those getting booster, or third shots of vaccine has been "ramping down." Indeed, there were only 6,399 of those shots provided in the past 24 hours, for a total of 2,555,669.

Statistics Canada data released this month said that in the 2021 census, B.C.'s population had increased 7.6 per cent between 2016 and 2021, and that the new total number of residents is 5,000,879.

Glacier Media's calculation therefore is that nearly 90.3 per cent of B.C.'s total population has had at least one dose of vaccine, and more than 85.7 per cent of the province's total population has had two doses. More than 51.1 per cent have had their booster doses. •