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21 deaths included in latest B.C. COVID-19 update, highest single-day total in over a year

Twenty-one more COVID-19 related deaths were reported in B.C. on Wednesday, the highest single-day total the province has added to its death toll since December 2020.

The 21 deaths reported Wednesday come after just one was reported on Tuesday, but still push the province's rolling seven-day average for daily deaths to 10. The last time the rolling average was that high was in January 2021.

The Ministry of Health provided the latest numbers in a written statement Wednesday afternoon.

There are 949 test-positive COVID-19 patients in B.C. hospitals, a total that includes both those whose illness is severe enough to require hospitalization and those who test positive incidentally while admitted to hospital for other reasons.

There are 136 COVID-19 patients in intensive care units across the province.

The deaths reported Wednesday were spread across three health authorities, with 10 reported in Fraser Health, six in Vancouver Coastal Health and five in Island Health.

Over the course of the pandemic, many of the deaths in B.C. have been among residents of long-term care homes. Deaths associated with care home outbreaks during the Omicron wave have so far been significantly lower than during previous waves, though the latest data available only covers deaths through Jan. 18. 

Wednesday's update included five new COVID-19 outbreaks in health-care facilities, including four in long-term care homes. Seven other outbreaks have been declared over, leaving B.C. with 61 active outbreaks in its health-care system. 

The Health Ministry does not release the vaccination status of people who die from COVID-19 complications on a daily basis.

Data from the B.C. Centre for Disease Control shows that, between Dec. 25 and Jan. 21, there were approximately 10.9 deaths per 100,000 unvaccinated B.C. residents, compared to 2.6 deaths per 100,000 residents with at least two doses of vaccine. 

As of Wednesday, 89.7 per cent of eligible people ages five and older in B.C. had received at least a first dose of vaccine, and 83.6 per cent had received two shots.

Booster doses have been administered to 45.1 per cent of adults, or 42.2 per cent of people ages 12 and older.

Wednesday's update also included 2,086 new lab-confirmed cases of COVID-19, but that figure is no longer considered representative of the true spread of the coronavirus in B.C., because the province has stopped testing for it in most situations. 

On Tuesday, provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said B.C. is seeing "a gradual decline" in case rates and "a levelling off" of test positivity. But, she warned, hospitalizations remain near their highest point of the pandemic, and certain groups of people - particularly the elderly and immunocompromised - remain at greater risk of serious illness due to Omicron. Top Stories

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