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130 people in ICU with COVID in B.C. right now; 111 of those are unvaccinated

Click to play video: 'Health Minister Adrian Dix holds impromptu news conference'
Health Minister Adrian Dix holds impromptu news conference
Health Minister Adrian Dix held an impromptu news conference on Thursday to address several issues in the province, including the number of COVID-19 patients in the ICU. – Sep 9, 2021

B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix talked about COVID-19 patients in hospital, vaccination rates among various age groups, and people who refuse to get vaccinated in an impromptu news conference on Thursday afternoon.

Dix said 130 people are in intensive care with COVID-19 right now. Of those, 111 have not been vaccinated, or about 85 per cent, while another 10 have only had one dose.

“Because of the circumstances right now in ICU, we are delaying some non-urgent surgeries and making adjustments at some hospitals, including Surrey Memorial and Vancouver General,” Dix said.

The fastest-growing age group for vaccines is the 18- to 24-year-olds, Dix said, with 86 per cent of them now vaccinated.

Click to play video: 'Province reviewing options to protect B.C. hospitals from protest'
Province reviewing options to protect B.C. hospitals from protest

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As of Thursday, 85.3 per cent (3,955,624) of eligible people aged 12 and older in B.C. have received their first dose of vaccine, and 77.8 per cent (3,608,067) have received their second dose.

But Dix said he wants to see that number rise, and stressed again the importance of getting the shot.

“Choosing to stay unvaccinated when we are able to be vaccinated is simply holding a red flag to a virus that spreads to where you can see it in those critical care numbers,” he said.

“We need to know that after all we’ve been through, the data is clear, the evidence conclusive, the science definite. And just to say that, there is absolutely nothing heroic in presenting a target for COVID-19, there’s nothing altruistic in attracting. It’s infectious. There is nothing gained by anyone when someone falls victim to its vicious hold.”

Data released Thursday by the Canadian Institute for Health Information says the average cost of COVID-related hospitalization is $23,000, and up to $50,000 if someone ends up in ICU.

Click to play video: 'Health minister on roll-out of B.C. vaccine card'
Health minister on roll-out of B.C. vaccine card

B.C.’s vaccine card program starts Sept. 13, and Dix said in the past 48 hours alone, 1,101,754 people have downloaded the card to their phone or computer.

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“That shows, I think, an extraordinary response,” he said.

“I want to appreciate everyone and encourage everyone to continue to download the vaccine card, and to see that kind of response is, I think, a demonstration of people’s commitment and their individual willingness to support this program.”

To access your card, go to the BC Vaccine Card website, call 1-833-838-2323, or visit a BC Service office.

– with files from Janet Brown

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