COVID-19 hospitalizations rise for the first time this year while intensive care unit numbers fall 40 percent
The number of people hospitalized with COVID-19 across British Columbia rose slightly after several weeks of decline, while the number of patients in intensive care fell by 40 percent.
There are 193 people hospitalized with the virus as of Thursday, five more than the week before, according to the latest weekly report from the BC Center for Disease Control (BCCDC).
It is the first time this year that the province has seen an increase in hospital admissions. The year started with 356 people hospitalized with COVID-19 on January 5.
15 people are in intensive care, compared to 25 the week before.
On February 11, the province said there were 13 new deaths in the past month in people who tested positive for COVID-19, bringing BC’s total number of deaths related to the virus to 5,157 since the pandemic began.
BC labs reported 341 cases of the virus, for a total of 395,709 cases since the pandemic began.
Unlike hospitalizations, case numbers vastly underestimate the true spread of the disease because the BCCDC’s report only counts PCR tests, which are currently inaccessible to the majority of British Columbia residents.
The weekly figures shared by the province are also preliminary and are often changed retrospectively.
Sewage data had not been released as of Thursday afternoon.
Data gaps on vaccine rollout pose risks: BC’s auditor-general
The figures come the same day BC’s Comptroller General said the Department of Health should have access to a register of residents and staff at long-term care facilities, as well as healthcare workers, after concluding it had “struggled” at times to collect reliable COVID. 19 Vaccination information for risk groups.
In his most recent report on the province’s COVID-19 immunization coverage, Auditor General Michael Pickup says the department has procedures for estimating immunization rates for residents and staff in long-term care and assisted living, but the process has been cumbersome.
He says this means the quality of the data collected was at risk and vaccination rates for these priority groups may have been inaccurate.
According to Pickup, the province was able to estimate the number of healthcare workers who were vaccinated in the early stages of rollout, when vaccines were focused on those most likely to have exposed patients with COVID-19 or transmit the virus to patients.
As more workers qualified for vaccines, the ministry continued to track the number of those vaccinated but did not revise its population estimate to account for newly eligible personnel, meaning the February-October coverage rate was “overestimated and not useful”. 2021
In October 2021, a vaccination regulation for all healthcare workers working in health authorities was issued and the Ministry was able to use health authority human resources databases to help implement the regulation.
According to Pickup, his office was told that until the COVID-19 vaccination mandate was in place, staff at the ministry and public health officials were not authorized to access those databases.
“Once they had access to these databases, the ministry had adequate procedures in place to monitor vaccination rates and regularly made this information available to decision-makers,” the report said.
The COVID-19 immunization program was the largest immunization campaign in British Columbia’s history, with nearly 14 million doses administered between December 2020 and December 2022.