B.C. care home outbreaks saw 20 per cent fatality rate, modelling data shows
VANCOUVER -- One out of every five cases of COVID-19 that resulted from outbreaks at B.C.'s long-term care homes was fatal, according to new modelling data released Monday.
And the case fatality rate was slightly higher – 22.4 per cent – in infections associated with outbreaks at acute care units in the province, according to the latest numbers shared by provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix.
That's significantly higher than B.C.'s overall fatality rate of 6.1 per cent, which might be expected, given it has long been understood that seniors and people with chronic health conditions are more susceptible to the worst symptoms of COVID-19.
"This is one of the reasons we have put so much time and energy trying to protect our long-term care homes and our elders and seniors in these situations," Henry said.
British Columbia's fatality rate was calculated using provincial case numbers from the start of the pandemic to July 6, when there was a total of 183 deaths attributed to the virus out of 2,978 confirmed infections.
The 1,028 cases associated with outbreaks, including outbreaks in the community that spread through social events and workplaces, had an overall fatality rate of 12.9 per cent.
Officials said cases that weren't associated with an outbreak were significantly less lethal, accounting for 50 deaths out of 1,950 infections.
"So the case fatality rate is about 2.6 per cent – still much higher than we see with influenza, for example, but much lower than certain scenarios," Henry said.
The latest modelling also shows that women continue to make up a slim majority of cases, at 52 per cent, and that the median age of British Columbians who have caught COVID-19 remains around 50 years old.
However, Henry noted that most of the new cases that emerged in recent days as British Columbia continued to suffer a surge in infections were "people in their 20s and 30s."
The province's death rate is slightly below the current national rate of eight per cent.