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B.C. COVID-19 data: Weekly update shows slight increase in hospital population

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The number of people hospitalized with COVID-19 in B.C. ticked up slightly this week, but remained well below the early-October high.

The B.C. Centre for Disease Control reported 182 test-positive patients in hospital Thursday, up from 174 at this time last week.

The number of people reported in hospital with COVID-19 by the B.C. Centre for Disease Control in each update of 2023 so far is shown. (CTV)

The slight increase in the hospitalized population comes alongside decreases in both the number of new lab-confirmed infections and test positivity rate in the latest BCCDC update.

There were 349 newly confirmed cases of COVID-19 during the week of Nov. 26 to Dec. 2, the "epidemiological week" for which data was released Thursday.

That's down from 382 the week before.

Relatedly, the percentage of provincially funded tests for COVID that came back positive during the week of Nov. 26 to Dec. 2 was 10.2 per cent, down two percentage points from the preceding week.

The BCCDC's data on infections and testing counts only lab-based tests, which are not available to most B.C. residents under the province's current testing strategy.

The total number of people who contracted COVID-19 during the week in question in the province is unknown, but likely considerably higher.

To help approximate the spread of the disease among the vast majority of people who are ineligible for testing, the BCCDC monitors coronavirus concentrations in wastewater at various locations around the province.

During the most recent epidemiological week, wastewater data showed declines in SARS-CoV-2 concentrations at all five treatment plants in Metro Vancouver.

The same was true for treatment plants in Kamloops, Kelowna, Penticton and Prince George. 

Taken together, these data points showing declining transmission suggest the slight increase in the hospitalized population this week is likely not the beginning of a new COVID surge.

It should be noted, however, that the number of patients currently in hospital is the only data the BCCDC releases in real time. New positive tests and wastewater concentrations measured this week will not be released until next Thursday. 

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