Omicron transmission peaked in British Columbia, hospitalizations not far behind – BC News – .

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Omicron transmission peaked in British Columbia, hospitalizations not far behind – BC News – .



Transmission of the Omicron variant COVID-19 has likely peaked in British Columbia, according to data released by the provincial government.

Health officials released the data on Friday, suggesting hospitalizations could peak in the province within a week or two.

Case trends, test positivity rates and sewage sampling all suggest that the spread of the virus is now on a downward slope in the Lower Mainland, following similar trends in other urban centers in the United States. and in the UK

The Omicron variant has become the dominant strain of the virus in just one month, but fewer people are hospitalized and for less time.

Compared to the Delta variant, people with Omicron end up staying in hospital about half as long and have a 60% lower chance of ending up in intensive care or dying.

And while emergency room visits for COVID-19 have reached record highs, fewer of those people are actually being admitted to hospital.

Between December 11 and January 7, unvaccinated people were 12 times more likely to be hospitalized, 27 times more likely to be in intensive care and 40 times more likely to die.

The provincial government will launch a new way to count hospitalizations on Friday, which will push those numbers up.

Going forward, patients directly admitted to hospital with COVID, those who accidentally test positive while hospitalized for other reasons, and those who contract COVID during a hospital outbreak will all be counted.

Health officials revealed that so far COVID hospitalization data did not include those involved in outbreaks or out-of-province patients. The data stream was a “hodgepodge” of information from various sources that will now be standardized.

An audit of COVID cases and hospitalizations during the month of December at Vancouver Coastal Health found that of 7,989 PCR-confirmed cases in the community, 56 people were hospitalized.

About half of those hospitalized were there directly because of COVID, while the other half were “accidentally hospitalized” – they were tested for another reason and found to have COVID. In the future, data on incidental hospitalizations will be released “periodically”.

Health officials have stopped looking so closely at absolute case numbers when predicting where the pandemic is heading in British Columbia, but say case numbers are still useful for tracking trends and patterns.

And those patterns, so far, suggest transmission peaked in the Lower Mainland in the first week of January. Modeling shows that hospitalizations will then peak between January 15 and 20.

The Interior Health Region traditionally lags the Lower Mainland a few weeks behind.

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