COVID-19: B.C. reports first uptick in hospital admissions in 6 weeks

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NACI releases new COVID-19 booster guidelines
B.C. is currently only offering fourth doses of vaccine to those over 70 years of age and those who are immune-compromised. NACI is now releasing new guidelines on booster vaccines ahead of a possible fall wave of the COVID-19 virus. Richard Zussmas has more. – Jun 30, 2022

British Columbia health officials reported the first uptick in COVID-19 hospital admissions in six weeks on Thursday.

The number of total patients in hospital with COVID-19, however, remained unchanged from last week at 273. There were 32 patients in ICU, an increase of four.

Under B.C.’s “census” reporting model, all positive cases are counted regardless of the reason the patient was admitted to hospital.

The BCCDC also reported 620 cases for the week ending June 18, though due to restrictions on PCR testing the true figure is likely significantly higher.

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Read more: Are 4th COVID-19 doses needed amid Omicron spread? Experts weigh in

Just under 12,200 tests were performed the week ending June 25, and the provincewide test positivity rate was 7.5 per cent, up 0.2 per cent over the week prior.

British Columbia’s weekly data reporting regime also provides information on hospital admissions and deaths, though both metrics are only current as of June 25, and are typically revised upward significantly in following weeks.

For the first time since mid-May, the BCCDC reported a week-over-week increase in hospital admissions.

For the week ending June 25, the BCCDC reported 169 hospital admissions, up 13 from the week prior. Those weekly admissions are also typically revised up significantly the following week. For context, the figure reported last Thursday, 156 admissions between June 18 and June 22, has now been revised up by 24.3 per cent to 194.

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The latest weekly data reports 17 deaths between June 19 and June 25, a figure that is also preliminary and expected to be revised upward. The figure reported last Thursday of 26 deaths between June 12 and June 18 has since been revised upward by 23 per cent to 32.

Moreover, the way the province now tracks deaths, dubbed “all cause mortality,” includes all deaths in the reporting period among those who tested positive for COVID-19 in the prior 30 days.

Health officials have said this model likely overestimates deaths.

Subsequent analysis has found an average of 43 per cent of deaths reported under the “all cause mortality” model between April 9 and May 21 were actually caused by COVID-19, according to the BCCDC.

That figure too, however, is expected to see future revision upward.

Read more: Infected with COVID-19? Cuddling your pet cat or dog can make them sick, says study

Despite waning immunity from COVID-19 vaccines, data continues to show that people with two or more vaccinations are at lower risk of severe outcomes from the virus.

According to data from May 1 to June 25, unvaccinated people were about twice as likely to end up in hospital and three times as likely to end up in the intensive care unit as people who were vaccinated.

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On Wednesday, the National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) recommended seniors and people in high-risk categories be offered an additional vaccine booster ahead of a potential new COVID-19 wave, regardless of how many shots they had previously received.

It also recommended the possibility of boosters for the rest of the Canadian population.

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