British Columbia

B.C. reports 8 fewer people in hospital with COVID-19, 3 fewer in the ICU and 6 more deaths

B.C. health officials reported 290 people in hospital with COVID-19 on Friday, including 46 in intensive care, as the province recorded six more deaths from the disease and 199 new cases.

Hospitalizations fall to 290 from 298

People are pictured riding a SkyTrain on March 14. (Ben Nelms/CBC)

B.C. health officials reported 290 people in hospital with COVID-19 on Friday, including 46 in intensive care, as the province recorded six more deaths from the disease and 199 new cases.

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

Overall hospitalizations, which typically lag behind spikes and dips in new cases, are down by 21 per cent from last Friday, when 368 people were in hospital with the disease and down about 60.4 per cent from a month ago when 733 people were in hospital. 

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

The number of patients in intensive care remains the same as it was a week ago, and is down by 59 per cent from a month ago when 113 people were in the ICU.

As of Monday, 6.3 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 though most of January but began to fall in February, 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 a more worrying level of transmission.

The provincial death toll from COVID-19 is now 2,966 lives lost out of 353,578 confirmed cases to date.

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

Acute care outbreaks include: 

  • Surrey Memorial Hospital.

As of Friday, 90.8 per cent of those five and older in B.C. had received their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine and 86.9 per cent a second dose.

From Mar. 10 to 16, people who were not fully vaccinated accounted for 17.2 per cent of cases and from Mar. 3 to 16, they accounted for 26.2 per cent of hospitalizations, according to the province.

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

Federal government examining vaccinate mandates

The federal government is actively reviewing all of its vaccine mandates with an eye to ending rules that force some people to get their COVID-19 shots.

Canada's Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Theresa Tam said the country's public health officials are at a "very important juncture" and COVID-19 policies may soon shift from "an emphasis on requirements to recommendations."

The federal government currently requires federal public servants, workers in federally regulated industries and the transportation sector and members of the travelling public be vaccinated against COVID-19 if they want to go to work, fly on a plane or travel by train.

"I think the federal government has taken a very precautionary, thoughtful approach. They're looking at a phased approach of removing some of these policies. I know these policies are being reviewed and re-examined as we speak," Tam said.

With files from John Paul Tasker

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