Known new COVID-19 infections in B.C. lowest since August

One more COVID-19 death in the province raises the pandemic death toll to 2,915

Ambulance attendants rush a patient into hospital | Photo: Getty Images / Paul Burns

Metrics showing that B.C. is increasingly limiting the spread and severity of COVID-19 continued today, with only 254 new infections reported in the past 24 hours, according to the B.C. government's COVID-19 dashboard.

That's the lowest count since Aug. 3. After Glacier Media first reported this number, the government late afternoon released a statement saying that the number of new cases was even lower. 

"Although 254 new cases are being reported, the total number of cases have only increased by 200 from Monday, March 7," the government said. "This is due to data reconciliation from the preliminary numbers reported yesterday."

The new total of 200 new cases in a day would be the lowest tally since Aug. 2.

Lower numbers of total hospitalizations, and a months-low number of COVID-19 patients in intensive care units (ICUs) is also the case today.

Yesterday, the number of those with severe enough COVID-19 infections to be in ICUs fell to 63, which is the fewest since August 20. That count stayed the same today, according to the province's COVID-19 dashboard. A full statistical report is set to be released later this afternoon. 

Including those in ICUs, 419 people with COVID-19 are in B.C. hospitals. Today's is the 20th consecutive government data update with a reduced number of COVID-19 patients in hospitals. It is also the lowest total since January 7. Back then, however, the B.C. government had a far more restrictive way of counting these hospital patients.

That previous system excluded people who caught COVID-19 in hospital while there for another ailment. The previous restrictive counting system also stopped counting people after they had gone 10 days after first exhibiting symptoms, and were therefore deemed not infectious, as well as COVID-19 patients who normally live outside B.C.

Government data shows one more COVID-19 death in the province, which raises B.C.'s pandemic death toll to 2,915. In the first seven days of March, B.C. averaged six COVID-19 deaths per day. 

While new data is impressive in showing that the number of new infections is at a low not seen in more than seven months, health officials since December have been telling fully vaccinated individuals with mild symptoms not to get tested, in order to leave tests for those more vulnerable. As such, the province's case data is widely seen to be inaccurate – a view that Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry shares. 

This is why, she said more than a month ago, that the number of active infections would not be provided. Nor would the province provide daily data for presumed recoveries.

It does provide a daily number for total known infections since the start of the pandemic: 351,141.

Data show health officials conducted 4,028 tests in the past 24 hours, which translates into a positive-test rate of 4.7% – far lower than rates four times that early in 2022.

B.C. has 14 active outbreaks in health-care facilities thanks to three previously active outbreaks declared over and no new such outbreaks. •