19 more people die from COVID-19 in B.C. as hospitalizations continue to fall
Number of people in hospital drops to 946 from 985 while number of ICU patients down by six from Thursday
Another 19 people in B.C. have died of COVID-19 within the last 24 hours, health officials reported Friday.
The province also recorded 946 people in hospital with COVID-19 on Friday, including 139 in intensive care, and 1,799 new cases. Hospitalizations are now at their lowest level in two weeks.
The new numbers represent a decrease of 39 COVID-19 patients hospitalized within the last 24 hours, including six fewer patients in the ICU.
Overall hospitalizations, which typically lag behind spikes and dips in new cases, are down by 4.4 per cent from last Friday, when 990 people were in hospital with the disease.
Due to a data reporting change introduced Jan. 14, month-to-month hospitalization comparisons won't be available again until Feb. 14.
The number of patients in intensive care is down slightly from 141 a week ago and up nearly 64 per cent from a month ago when 86 people were in the ICU.
Experts say hospitalizations are a more accurate barometer of the disease's impact, as new case numbers in B.C. are likely much higher than reported, now that the province has hit its testing limit because of the Omicron surge.
The province's seven-day average for case positivity is 20.5 per cent, according to the province's COVID-19 dashboard.
Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry has said that anything above a five per cent test-positivity rate indicates a concerning level of community transmission.
There are currently 25,479 recorded active cases of people infected with the novel coronavirus in B.C.
The provincial death toll from COVID-19 is now 2,675 lives lost out of 330,942 confirmed cases to date.
There are a total of 58 active outbreaks in assisted living, long-term, and acute care facilities.
Acute care outbreaks include:
- Langley Memorial Hospital.
- Victoria General Hospital.
- Nanaimo Regional General Hospital.
- Cowichan District Hospital.
- Kelowna General Hospital.
As of Friday, 90 per cent of those five and older in B.C. had received their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine and 84.2 per cent a second dose.
From Jan. 27 to Feb. 2, people who were not fully vaccinated accounted for 24.9 per cent of cases and from Jan. 20 to Feb. 2, they accounted for 31.2 per cent of hospitalizations, according to the province.
A total of 2.23 million people have received a booster shot to date.
School sports tournaments expected to return
An announcement is expected soon on the resumption of school sports with health and safety guidelines in place, according to B.C.'s Education Ministry.
Team-based school sports tournaments were suspended in December as the Omicron variant became dominant in B.C.
"We recognize the importance of sports for students and school communities, and met today with the K-12 Steering Committee and B.C. School Sports to hear partner perspectives about resuming team-based school sports tournaments," the ministry said in an emailed statement to CBC News.
"We are grateful for the extraordinary work undertaken at this time by everyone in our education system to ensure programs like sports tournaments can continue for students, while remaining committed to keeping in-class learning as our top priority."
Wait 3 months for booster after COVID-19 infection: NACI
Canada's National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) is now recommending that anyone who has had two doses of the COVID-19 vaccine and subsequently contracted the disease should wait three months before they get a booster dose.
Anyone who was infected with COVID-19 before receiving their first or second dose should receive their next dose eight weeks after symptoms started or after testing positive, according to the guidelines.
The group says a longer interval may result in a better immune response.
The NACI said there is insufficient clinical or real-world data to determine the ideal interval between infection and vaccination. Instead, they've used what information is available and the basic principles of vaccinology and immunology.
With files from Liam Britten and Lauren Pelley