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B.C. COVID-19 hospitalizations drop below 600 in final update of the week

A disposable face mask is seen in this file photo from Island Health. (Island Health/Facebook) A disposable face mask is seen in this file photo from Island Health. (Island Health/Facebook)

The number of test-positive COVID-19 patients in B.C. hospitals dropped below 600 Friday for the first time in more than a month, and the number of patients in intensive care units fell below 100.

There are 599 people in B.C. hospitals with COVID-19, according to an update shared by the Ministry of Health. That total includes both people who have a serious enough infection that it requires hospitalization and people who are hospitalized for other reasons and test positive for COVID-19 incidentally.

The number of COVID-19 patients in B.C. ICUs is now 96.

The total number of people with COVID-19 in B.C. hospitals is the lowest it's been since the province switched last month to a "hospital census" model that does not attempt to exclude incidental cases. 

Friday's update wasn't all good news, however, as the province reported 12 more deaths related to the coronavirus.

There have now been 2,851 deaths attributed to COVID-19 in B.C. since the pandemic began.

The ministry said that total has been adjusted "due to a data correction." One death that had previously been reported has been removed from the total. The ministry did not elaborate on why the correction was necessary.

The deaths announced Friday were almost exclusively in the Fraser Health region. Ten of the deaths were reported there, while one each happened in the Northern and Island health authorities.

Fraser Health also saw one new health-care facility outbreak, at Cascade Gardens Seniors Community in Burnaby.

Three other outbreaks in Island Health are now over, according to the ministry, leaving the province with 27 active outbreaks of COVID-19 in its health-care system.

Outbreaks, hospitalizations, ICU admissions and case counts have all been trending steadily downward in recent weeks, and the province has responded by lifting some of its coronavirus-related restrictions.

Friday's update included 583 newly confirmed cases of COVID-19, though case counts have been considered unreliable since the province imposed stricter limits on who can get tested late last year.

The daily case number released by the ministry includes only positive PCR tests, not results from rapid antigen tests.

Beginning Friday, B.C. residents ages 70 and older can pick up free rapid test kits for at-home use at select pharmacies around the province. 

Deaths attributed to COVID-19 have fluctuated significantly on a day-to-day basis, and the seven-day rolling average for newly reported deaths has not been following the overall trend.

On Friday, the average rose to 9.4, the highest it's been in almost two weeks, though still below the recent high of 13 deaths per day seen on Feb. 7.

The ministry does not report the vaccination status of people whose deaths are COVID-19 related on a daily basis. However, information on deaths by vaccination status can be found on the B.C. Centre for Disease Control's COVID-19 Surveillance Dashboard

The data shows unvaccinated people are overrepresented in the province's recent COVID-19 death toll, relative to their share of the total population. 

As of Friday, 90.6 per cent of eligible people ages five and older in B.C. had received at least a first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, and 86.1 per cent had received at least two shots.

Among those ages 12 and older, 55.3 per cent have received a booster dose. Top Stories

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