British Columbia

Hospitalizations up 54% in 1 week, as B.C. records 2,542 new cases of COVID-19

B.C. health officials announced 2,542 new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday. The province is also reporting an additional four deaths since Dec. 31.

There are 298 people in hospital with the disease, 86 of whom are in intensive care

A pedestrian wears a face mask to protect against COVID-19 while walking in downtown Vancouver on Dec. 30, 2021. (Ben Nelms/CBC)

B.C. health officials announced 2,542 new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday. 

Experts say the actual number of new cases in B.C. is likely higher, with the province now having hit its testing limit amid the surge in cases and that hospitalizations are a more accurate barometer of the disease's impact.

The province is also reporting an additional four deaths since Dec. 31.

In a written statement, the provincial government said there are currently 27,106 active cases of people infected with the novel coronavirus in B.C.

A total of 298 people are in hospital, with 86 in intensive care.

Overall hospitalizations, which typically lag behind spikes and dips in new cases, are up 54.4 per cent from last week, when 193 people were in hospital with the disease and about 7.97 per cent from a month ago when 276 people were in hospital.

 

The number of patients in intensive care is up by about 30.3 per cent from 66 a week ago and down by 9.47 per cent from a month ago when 95 people were in the ICU.

The provincial death toll from COVID-19 is now 2,427 lives lost out of 266,710 confirmed cases to date.

 

The regional breakdown of new cases is as follows:

  • 1,458 new cases in Fraser Health, which has 12,729 total active cases.
  • 360 new cases in Island Health, which has 3,113 total active cases.
  • 329 new cases in Vancouver Coastal Health, which has 8,274 total active cases. 
  • 270 new cases in Interior Health, which has 2,250 total active cases.
  • 125 new cases in Northern Health, which has 737 total active cases.
  • There are no new cases among people who reside outside of Canada.

 

There  are a total of 24 active outbreaks in assisted living, long-term, and acute care facilities. Nine new outbreaks were declared at health-care facilities across the province on Tuesday, including at Victoria General Hospital

Acute care outbreaks include:

  • Mission Memorial Hospital.
  • Surrey Memorial Hospital.
  • Lions Gate Hospital.
  • Joseph & Rosalie Segal Family Health Centre.
  • Victoria General Hospital.
  • UBC Hospital - Detwiller Pavillion.

Vaccination rates

As of Tuesday, 92 per cent of those 12 and older in B.C. have received their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, 89.2 per cent a second dose, and 20.7 per cent a third dose.

When taking into account those five and older, 88.3 per cent of people in B.C. had received a first shot and 83 per cent a second shot.

From Dec. 23 to 29, people who were not fully vaccinated accounted for 16 per cent of cases and from Dec. 16 to 29, they accounted for 55 per cent of hospitalizations, according to the province.

So far, 9.46 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been administered, including 4.13 million second doses.

School reopens ... for some

Most students in B.C. will be staying home for another week, after the province announced a phased approach to returning from the winter break.

However, some schools reopened Tuesday as planned to accommodate the children of essential services workers and those with special needs.

Terri Mooring, the president of the B.C. Teachers' Federation, said Tuesday morning she is worried about low vaccination rates among elementary school children and the impact that could have on classroom settings.

According to Dr. Penny Ballem, who is leading B.C.'s COVID-19 immunization efforts, less than 40 per cent of children aged five to 11 have been vaccinated.

"We know that this vaccine has just become available recently for young children, but those are low numbers and they're concerning," said Mooring, speaking Tuesday on CBC's The Early Edition.

B.C. schools have enhanced COVID-19 safety measures in the wake of record-breaking new case numbers, but Mooring worries the numbers could mean there simply won't be enough staff to keep classrooms functioning.

"What we want to avoid is having to go to online learning by default, because so many people can't go to work because they have symptoms of COVID," said Mooring.

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