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B.C. COVID-19 data: Number in hospital triples in a month


The number of COVID-positive patients in B.C. hospitals has more than tripled in the last month, according to the latest data from the B.C. Centre for Disease Control.

As of Thursday, there were 241 test-positive patients in hospitals around the province, up from a two-year low of just 76 at the start of August.

Thursday's total is the highest since May 4, when the BCCDC reported 268 people in hospital with COVID-19.

The number of people in hospital with COVID-19 in B.C. in 2023, as reported by the B.C. Centre for Disease Control, is shown.

The latest update comes after the province became the first in Canada to identify a local case of the BA.2.86 variant, which has some mutations that "raise an eyebrow," according to Dr. Isaac Bogoch, a Toronto-based infectious disease expert, who spoke to about the variant. 

Thursday's data also follows a surge in SARS-CoV-2 concentrations in B.C. wastewater, monitoring data for which is still published weekly. 

In its notes on the latest numbers, the BCCDC says no additional samples of the BA.2.86 variant have been found in the province's whole genome sequencing.

Most of the infections seen in the province in recent weeks have been either the EG.5 or XBB.1.16 variants, according to the BCCDC.

All of these various lineages are still considered versions of the Omicron variant that became the dominant strain in late 2021.

The 241 people in hospital with COVID-19 in B.C. as of Thursday is the highest total seen in months, but still a relatively low number compared to the totals seen throughout 2022.

The number of people with COVID-19 in B.C. hospitals since the province switched to a "hospital census" model for counting them in January 2022 is shown.

Figures shown on the graphs in this article include all test-positive COVID patients reported in B.C. hospitals on the corresponding dates, regardless of whether their COVID infection was the reason for their hospitalization.

This means that some of the people included in the count – between 50 and 60 per cent according to health officials – do not have serious cases of COVID-19, but rather tested positive incidentally while they were in the hospital for other reasons.

However, the BCCDC also acknowledges that its counting of hospitalizations – particularly weekly hospital admissions, which are different from the number of people currently hospitalized – is designed for rapid surveillance rather than a thorough examination of the burden of COVID-19 on the health-care system. 

Last month, the Canadian Institute for Health Information released data showing thousands more hospitalizations in B.C. between April 2022 and April 2023 than the BCCDC's system reported during the same time period.

Neither agency said the other's numbers were wrong, and both said the counting methods are different and not directly comparable. Top Stories

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