The government of British Columbia has announced 609 new cases of COVID-19 and six related deaths, as well as another increase in hospitalizations for coronavirus.
Wednesday’s update, provided in a written statement from the Department of Health, reduced the province’s seven-day average of infections to 578 cases per day. This average has been gradually decreasing since last Thursday, when it was 640 cases per day.
Meanwhile, the number of hospitalized COVID-19 patients has increased, reaching a five-month high of 390 on Tuesday and rising further to 422 on Wednesday. This includes 157 patients in intensive care.
Part of that increase appears to be related to a change in reporting, although officials did not provide many details on the impact of the change.
The health ministry said the Home Health Authority this week changed the “primary source of COVID-19 hospitalization monitoring data” resulting in a unique increase in the number of patients .
“This change is retrospective to the start of the pandemic but mainly affects cases reported since August 2021,” the ministry said in its statement. No further details on the nature of the change were given.
Any increase in hospitalizations would be ill-timed this week, after more than 4,000 healthcare workers were placed on unpaid leave for not receiving even a single dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.
These unvaccinated workers represent about three percent of healthcare workers under the new mandate.
Although they are a small minority in the system, there have been concerns about how their absence will affect staffing levels and morale – although Health Minister Adrian Dix and the provincial health officer , Dr. Bonnie Henry quickly noted that COVID-19 outbreaks in health-care settings are also having a serious impact.
Across the province, 89.7% of eligible residents received at least one dose of the vaccine and 84.7% received both.
Even though the unvaccinated represent less than 20% of the provincial population, including those who are too young to be vaccinated, they consistently constitute the majority of cases, hospitalizations and intensive care patients.
The Northern Health Authority, which lags other regions in immunization, has also consistently recorded the highest number of infections per capita. The latest cases were distributed as follows:
- Northern health – 126 cases, i.e. a rate of 44.3 per 100,000 inhabitants
- Inner health – 92 cases, i.e. a rate of 11.1 per 100,000 inhabitants
- Fraser Health – 257 cases, i.e. a rate of 13.5 per 100,000 inhabitants
- Island health – 55 cases, i.e. a rate of 6.4 per 100,000 inhabitants
- Vancouver Coastal Health – 79 cases, i.e. a rate of 6.1 per 100,000 inhabitants
Another 700 people have also recovered from COVID-19, leaving the province’s active case count at 4,748, up from 4,829 on Tuesday.