British Columbia health officials reported one new COVID-19 death on Wednesday, as the number of cases in hospital continued its steady downward slide.
Officials confirmed 653 positive cases in hospital, an overnight drop of 35 and a figure more than 37 per cent lower than B.C.’s fifth-wave peak of 1,048. There were 108 cases in critical or intensive care, unchanged overnight.
The update came as provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said the province was “transitioning to what will be our sustainable COVID-19 management strategies.”
“We’ve been focusing on effective response, recovery and then readiness for what lies ahead,” Henry said.
“This means we will be continuing things like our whole genome sequencing (and) surveillance.”
Henry said along with monitoring for new variants, the province was stepping up its wastewater surveillance which will be used along with PCR test positivity rates to track the level of COVID-19 in the community.
The province confirmed 799 new cases Wednesday. However, limits on testing have rendered daily case counts an unreliable measure of the virus’ spread.
As of Wednesday, 90.5 per cent of eligible people in B.C. had received one dose of COVID-19 vaccine, 86 per cent had received two doses and 57.1 had received a third dose.
Fully-vaccinated people accounted for 79.6 per cent of new cases over the past week, and 67.2 per cent of hospitalizations over the past two weeks.
However B.C. Centre for Disease Control data continues to show the unvaccinated at a far higher risk of severe outcomes.
Between Jan. 22 and Feb. 18, per 100,000 population there were 168.8 unvaccinated cases in hospital, 45.3 unvaccinated cases in the ICU and 19.7 unvaccinated deaths, compared to 55.9 vaccinated cases in hospital, 12 vaccinated cases in ICU and 7.2 vaccinated deaths.
Since the start of the pandemic, B.C. has reported 346,196 total cases, while 2,831 people have died.