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B.C. COVID-19 hospitalizations up slightly as province launches latest vaccine campaign

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The number of people in B.C. hospitals with COVID-19 rose slightly this week as the province began rolling out its latest vaccination campaign

There were 141 test-positive COVID patients in hospitals across the province as of Thursday, according to the latest data from the B.C. Centre for Disease Control. That's an increase of nine – or about 6.8 per cent – from last week's total.

The number of people reported in B.C. hospitals with COVID-19 in public updates in 2024 so far is shown. (CTV News)

The total reported this week remains the third-lowest the BCCDC has reported all year, and it's exactly half as many people as were hospitalized with the disease at this time last year, when there were 282 test-positive patients in B.C. hospitals as of April 6, 2023.

Some of the other COVID data released by the BCCDC Thursday also suggested slight increases in transmission in recent weeks.

There were 337 new infections confirmed through lab testing during the week of March 31 through April 6, the most recent "epidemiological week." That's an increase from the 297 new cases confirmed during the previous week.

The percentage of tests coming back positive also rose, reaching 10.6 per cent during the week that ended April 6, up from 9.2 per cent the preceding week.

Other respiratory illnesses have been on a downward trend for the last few months, with new infections and test positivity for influenza and RSV each at or near their lowest levels since the start of the respiratory illness season last fall. 

In its statement announcing spring vaccination plans earlier this week, the Ministry of Health said it would be recommending additional shots for older people and those at greater risk of complications from contracting COVID. 

"While the peak of the respiratory illness season has passed, the SARS CoV-2 virus continues to circulate at lower levels in the community," the ministry said. "The protection from infection that COVID-19 vaccines provide decreases over time, particularly in older people, so a spring COVID-19 vaccine booster will ensure people stay protected." 

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