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COVID-19: Cases in B.C. hospitals up 43 per cent since mid-March

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The number of COVID-19 cases in B.C.’s hospitals has climbed by 40 in the last week, provincial health officers said in their second update since moving to weekly data reporting.

According to the B.C. Centre for Disease Control there were 364 cases in hospital as of Thursday, including 36 cases in ICU, a drop of two.

The number of cases in hospital is now up 43 per cent from it’s 2022 low of 254 on March 22.

Read more: B.C. moves to weekly ‘surveillance’ approach to COVID-19 data reporting

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Since last Thursday, B.C. has confirmed another 1,760 new cases of COVID-19, however limited access to PCR testing means that figure significantly underestimates the true case count. The province conducted just 29,240 molecular tests over the last week.

Under the new reporting method, B.C. has also changed the way it counts deaths and is now providing data on hospital admissions, however, both figures come with a one-week delay.

Read more: B.C. health officials urge caution at Easter gatherings amid 6th COVID wave

Officials reported 233 COVID-19 hospital admissions over the week of April 3 to April 9, up three from the week prior.

Of those admissions, 108 were in the Fraser Health region, 34 were in the Interior Health region, 14 were in the Northern Health region, 43 were in the Vancouver Coastal Health region and 34 were in the Island Health region.

Officials also recorded 23 fatalities. The figure for deaths now includes anyone that died in the week of April 3 to April 9 who had tested positive for COVID within the 30 days prior.

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B.C. health officials acknowledge this figure likely overcounts fatalities, and say they will be providing future “retrospective evaluations” on the cause of death to better understand true COVID-19 mortality.

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B.C. is no longer providing an update on the total number of first, second and third doses of vaccine administered.

Read more: Better data needed to assess severity of 6th COVID-19 wave, says B.C. group

Monthly B.C. CDC data continues to show unvaccinated people at a higher risk of severe outcomes.

From March 13 to April 9, per 100,000 population, among unvaccinated people there were 45.8 cases in hospital, 7.9 unvaccinated cases in ICU and 4.2 deaths, compared to 23.6 cases in hospital, 3 cases in ICU and 2.2 deaths among people with two or more doses.

Last week, B.C.’s Ministry of Health said it was moving to a “surveillance” approach to data reporting that mirrored other respiratory illnesses like the flu, which it said was focused on “identifying meaningful changes in COVID-19 trends over time across different regions of the province.”

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The change comes as some experts, including the B.C. COVID-19 modelling group warns the province is in the early stages of a sixth, Omicron BA.2 variant-driven wave of the pandemic, and have called for more comprehensive and timelier data updates.

Since the start of the pandemic, British Columbia has reported a total of 359,002 cases, 20,220 hospital admissions and 3,036 deaths.

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