British Columbia

COVID-19 hospitalizations in B.C. down 30% from peak 3 weeks ago

B.C. health officials reported 733 people in hospital with COVID-19 on Friday, including 113 in intensive care, as the province recorded five more deaths from the disease and 692 new cases.

Hospitalizations fall to 733 from 1,048 nearly three weeks ago

A health-care worker walks near St. Paul’s Hospital in Vancouver in January. (Ben Nelms/CBC)

B.C. health officials reported 733 people in hospital with COVID-19 on Friday, including 113 in intensive care, as the province recorded five more deaths from the disease and 692 new cases.

The new numbers represent a decrease of 11 COVID-19 patients hospitalized within the last 24 hours, including seven fewer patients in the ICU.

Overall hospitalizations, which typically lag behind spikes and dips in new cases, are down by 13.6 per cent from last Friday, when 846 people were in hospital with the disease, and down about 14.2 per cent from a month ago when  854 people were in hospital. 

Hospitalizations are down by 30 per cent since Jan. 31, when 1,048 people were in hospital with COVID-19. This was the highest recorded number of COVID-19 hospitalizations in the province.

Deaths also lag behind cases, with higher numbers a reflection of Omicron's surge last month.

 

The number of patients in intensive care is down by about 16.9 per cent from 136 a week ago and up by 0.9 per cent from a month ago when 112 people were in the ICU.

As of Friday, 12.3 per cent of COVID-19 tests in B.C. are coming back positive, according to the province's COVID-19 dashboard. The number had been above 20 per cent through most of January but began to fall this month, along with hospitalizations.

 

Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry has said that anything above a five per cent test-positivity rate is an indicator of community transmission.

The provincial death toll from COVID-19 is now 2,786 lives lost out of 343,631 confirmed cases to date.

 

There are a total of 33 active outbreaks in assisted living, long-term, and acute care facilities.

Acute care outbreaks include:

  • Burnaby Hospital.
  • Langley Memorial Hospital.
  • Nanaimo Regional General Hospital.

As of Friday, 90.5 per cent of those five and older in B.C. had received their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine and 85.6 per cent a second dose.

From Feb. 10 to 16, people who were not fully vaccinated accounted for 22.1 per cent of cases and from Feb. 3 to 16, they accounted for 32 per cent of hospitalizations, according to the province.

A total of 2.5 million people have received a booster shot to date.

Interior Health resumes surgeries

Interior Health says it's taking a phased approach to resuming services that were paused last month, including rescheduling postponed surgeries and reopening in-patient services.

A statement from president Susan Brown says the impacts of the Omicron wave of COVID-19 on staffing in the region's health-care system are beginning to subside.


Brown says staffing isn't stable enough to safely restore all services next week, but it will reschedule procedures starting Wednesday and aims to clear the backlog as quickly as possible.

Interior Health says in-patient services will reopen Feb. 23 in Clearwater, where one new registered nurse has been recruited, while nurse-provided primary care services will return to normal that day at the Barriere and District Health Centre.

In-patient services are also set to reopen March 14 in Lillooet with two new nurses.

The health authority says overnight services at the Ashcroft Community Health Centre and the Slocan Community Health Centre in New Denver remain temporarily reduced to stabilize daytime services in those communities.

Moving past Omicron wave

Canada's top doctor says the country is past the peak of the COVID-19 wave caused by the Omicron variant and is ready to move out of a crisis response.

"We are hopeful we are approaching a period of reduced transmission, allowing Canadians a chance to regain a sense of normalcy," Dr. Theresa Tam, chief public health officer, said Friday.

Tam said while there are reasons to hope, COVID-19 is still spreading at high levels and hospitals remain stretched thin.

Easing public health measures could still lead to resurgence, she said.

With files from The Canadian Press

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