COVID-19: Five more B.C. deaths, hospitalizations down 30% from peak

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British Columbia reported another five deaths linked to COVID-19 on Friday, as the number of cases in hospital continued their slow but steady decline.

Health officials reported 733 people in hospital with COVID-19, down 11 overnight, including 113 people in critical or intensive care.

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The figure is 30 per cent below the peak in B.C.’s hospital numbers of 1,048, on Jan. 31.

Officials also confirmed 692 new cases, however restrictions on testing in the province mean the figure no longer accurately tracks the virus’ spread.

As of Friday, 87.6 per cent of all British Columbians (90.5 per cent of those eligible) had received one dose of COVID-19 vaccine, 82.8 per cent of B.C.’s population (85.6 per cent of those eligible) had received two doses, and 47.2 per cent of B.C.’s population (56.2 per cent of those eligible) had received three doses.

Fully vaccinated people accounted for 77.9 per cent of cases over the past week and 68 per cent of cases in hospital over the past two weeks.

Data from the B.C. Centre for Disease Control shows that the unvaccinated remain at significantly higher risk of severe outcomes.

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Between Jan. 15 and Feb. 11, per 100,000 population, there were 191.2 unvaccinated cases in hospital, 42.1 unvaccinated cases in intensive care, and 20.7 deaths among unvaccinated people, compared to 68.6 vaccinated cases in hospital, 12.8 vaccinated cases in ICU and 6.9 deaths among unvaccinated people.

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Earlier Friday, federal chief public health officer Dr. Theresa Tam said the Canada was moving out of the “critical phase” of the pandemic, but that easing public health restrictions could still lead to a resurgence.

Tam said rising community immunity meant Canada had the tools to manage the pandemic without major restrictions, but that they could still be necessary if “there was a severe variant that escapes vaccine immunity, for example.”

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British Columbia eased most of its remaining pandemic restrictions on Wednesday, however a mask mandate for indoor public places and the province’s vaccine passport system remained in effect.

Since the start of the pandemic, B.C. has reported 143,631 total cases, while 2,786 people have died.

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