B.C. COVID-19 update shows hospital population essentially unchanged
There were 369 people in hospital in B.C. with COVID-19 on Thursday, a very small increase from 367 the week before, according to the B.C. Centre for Disease Control.
The increase of just two patients comes after a much larger increase last week, as officials continue to prepare for an expected surge in hospitalizations from the coronavirus, influenza and other respiratory illnesses this fall and winter.
This graph shows the number of people in hospital with COVID-19 in B.C. on Thursdays since the province switched to a "hospital census" model in January. (CTV)
The hospitalization totals the BCCDC reports each week include both those who are hospitalized because of severe cases of COVID-19 and those who are hospitalized for other reasons and test positive incidentally.
Officials have estimated that between 40 and 50 per cent of the patients reported in hospital each week are actually there because of the disease, rather than for other reasons.
Since B.C. began reporting hospitalizations according to this "hospital census" model, there have been as many as 985 and as few as 255 people in hospital with COVID-19 on a Thursday.
FRASER HEALTH DRIVES GROWTH
Though the overall number of test-positive patients in hospital was essentially unchanged this week, there was considerably more variation at the regional level.
Fraser Health saw its hospitalized population increase from 118 last week to 137 this week, while the Interior and Northern health authorities saw more modest increases.
Vancouver Coastal Health, meanwhile, saw a decrease of almost as many patients as Fraser Health gained, dropping from 121 last week to 103 this week. Island Health's hospital population also declined, though only slightly.
This graph shows the number of test-positive COVID-19 patients in hospital in each health authority on Thursdays since April. (CTV)
NEW CASES AND NEW HOSPITALIZATIONS
The number of patients in hospital is the only up-to-date data the BCCDC releases each week. All of the other information included in its weekly report corresponds to the most recent "epidemiological week" – in this case, Sept. 25 to Oct. 1.
This week, the report included a "key messages" section for the first time since the province switched to weekly reporting on COVID data back in April.
"In the most recent week (Sept. 25 – Oct. 1), the number of COVID-19 cases increased compared to the previous week (Sept. 18 – Sept. 24)," the section begins.
"Hospitalizations, critical care admissions, and deaths are stable or lower than the previous week."
There were 697 new lab-confirmed cases of COVID-19 during the week that ended Oct. 1, according to the BCCDC. That's up from 636 recorded during the preceding epidemiological week.
Those numbers are a significant undercounting of the actual spread of the coronavirus in B.C., however, because they don't include the results of rapid antigen testing, which is the only type of testing available to most B.C. residents with symptoms.
The independent B.C. COVID-19 Modelling Group has suggested that weekly case counts are off by a factor of roughly 100, meaning – if the group's estimate is accurate – that 697 new lab-confirmed cases corresponds to roughly 69,700 actual new infections during the week.
Similarly, the weekly report notes that data on new hospitalizations and new deaths that occurred during the last epidemiological week are subject to revision and "likely to become more complete over time."
The report compares the new hospitalizations from Sept. 25 to Oct. 1 favourably to the preceding week's total, with the BCCDC saying in its key messages that "new hospital admissions were slightly lower this week (n=185) compared to the previous week (n=198)."
That's misleading, however, because the previous week's total for new hospitalizations began at 150, and has been revised up to 198 in the latest report. This week is starting at a higher point, and if it grows by the same percentage that last week's figure did, the true number of new hospitalizations for the period will be revised upward to roughly 244, a slightly higher total than last week's, rather than a slightly lower one.
This same pattern can be seen in the weekly reporting on deaths. The report notes that there were 19 reported for the week ending Oct. 1, describing this total as "lower" than the previous week's. However, the previous week's total began at 16 and was revised up to 34 in the latest report. If the same pattern holds for this week's number, it will end up higher than 34.
It should be noted that the deaths reported each week represent "30-day, all-cause mortality." This means anyone who dies within 30 days of a positive COVID-19 test is included in the total, regardless of whether the disease was the underlying cause.
The province's Vital Statistics agency reviews all of the deaths attributed to COVID-19 and determines what the underlying cause of death was.
So far, Vital Statistics has determined that 511 of the 1,177 deaths for which an underlying cause has been found since April 2 were caused by COVID-19. That's roughly 43 per cent of the total.
Last week, health officials announced plans to free up space in B.C.'s hospitals in anticipation of a surge in hospitalizations caused by COVID-19, influenza and other respiratory illnesses this winter.
Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix said B.C.'s population has high levels of SARS-CoV-2 antibodies from vaccination and prior infection, meaning COVID-19 does not pose as much of a threat to most people in the province as it did in previous winters.
For this reason, according to Henry and Dix, restrictions like mandatory mask-wearing, limits on gatherings and vaccine passports are unlikely to come back, even if cases and hospitalizations rise.
Individuals can and should still take precautions if they want to avoid getting sick, including wearing masks at indoor gatherings and getting a booster dose of the Omicron-targeting bivalent vaccine.
During the week ending Oct. 1, the province administered 133,514 doses of COVID-19 vaccines, an increase of about 11,000 from the previous week.
At least some of those shots were given to people who had called to schedule appointments despite not yet being invited to do so by the province's online booking system.
CTVNews.ca Top Stories
A veteran and former Paralympian told a parliamentary committee that a caseworker from the Veterans Affairs Canada offered her medical assistance in dying, a week after the veterans affairs minister confirmed that at least four other veterans were offered the same thing.
As Canada enters the fifth week of the flu epidemic, influenza activity is rising, with mainly young children and older adults facing the brunt of the strain, according to the latest FluWatch report.
'Maybe the bully could do some good': Canadian actor on fundraiser, and sale of 'A Christmas Story' house
Located in Cleveland, Ohio, the house featured in the holiday film 'A Christmas Story' is up for sale. Leg lamp and all.
FBI Director Chris Wray is raising national security concerns about TikTok, warning Friday that control of the popular video sharing app is in the hands of a Chinese government "that doesn't share our values."
A U.S. woman was killed and four other passengers injured when a massive wave struck the Viking Polaris cruise ship while it was sailing toward the port of Ushuaia in southern Argentina on an Antarctic cruise, authorities said.
The Bank of Canada is expected to conclude a historic year marked by high inflation and aggressive monetary policy tightening with one more interest rate hike on Wednesday.
Myanmar's military-installed government has sentenced more critics to death, bringing the total to 139, and is using capital punishment as a tool to crush opposition, the UN high commissioner for human rights said Friday.
Prince William capped a three-day visit to Boston by meeting with President Joe Biden to share his vision for safeguarding the environment before attending a gala event Friday evening where he sounded an optimistic tone about solving the world's environmental problems through "hope, optimism and urgency."
America's newest nuclear stealth bomber made its debut Friday after years of secret development and as part of the Pentagon's answer to rising concerns over a future conflict with China.
For the second time this week, a threat of a shooting found written in a women's bathroom has forced the evacuation of a Victoria-area school. Saanich and Oak Bay police descended on the University of Victoria campus Friday morning after a message was found written in a women's bathroom in the school's Cornett Building.
BC Ferries says one of its largest vessels stalled midway between Vancouver Island and the B.C. mainland Friday afternoon due to a mechanical issue.
Heavy snowfalls and high winds are once again in the forecast for much of Vancouver Island as Environment Canada issued a new round of weather warnings Friday. The weather office says up to 15 centimetres of wet snow could accumulate on much of the island.
Respite admissions at Rotary Flames House in Calgary will be paused and staff redeployed to help with the ongoing struggle at Alberta Children's Hospital.
Alberta’s premier is doubling down on claims her sovereignty act will boost the province’s fortunes – and she already knows how she might use the bill.
A Red Deer man has been charged in a deadly head-on crash on Deerfoot Trail on Friday.
The cause of a suspicious death at an Edmonton encampment this week is being withheld for 'investigative reasons,' the city's police service said on Friday.
It was grannies' night behind the Edmonton Oilers bench at Rogers Place last Monday night. A group of friends from Whitecourt, Alta., attended the game against the Florida Panthers in grannies costumes and stayed in character all night.
Ponoka RCMP are searching for two people who witnesses saw flee from a vehicle that hit two people the afternoon of Nov. 30.
The body of a man has been recovered following an industrial accident in Mississauga on Friday, Peel Regional Police say.
A wind warning is in effect for Toronto with powerful wind gusts expected Saturday.
Students walked out of a Toronto high school they say has become the site of 'constant chaos' in which students detail deplorable conditions, teachers say it’s violent and parents are demanding action from the school board.
Young man in critical condition after being struck by on Montreal highway, 1 arrested for impaired driving
Police have arrested a man for drunk driving after a 22-year-old man was struck by a car in the Viger tunnel after getting out of his own car to check an issue.
Run, Hide, Fight: Quebec college aims to prepare students for active shooter as police investigate lockdown
Laval police parked a command post outside College Montmorency Friday with hopes to shed light on the shooting that sent four to hospital and pushed the school into lockdown. Meanwhile, Dawson College sent out a memo to students and staff on shooter preparedness, and Quebec's education minister pondered bumping up training in schools.
A student-led study group was formed to learn Anishinaabe on a weekly basis with hopes that the Indigenous language will appear on the McGill University course catalogue in the near future.
The lawyer representing a Winnipeg man accused of killing four Indigenous women says his client 'absolutely' maintains his innocence and intends to plead not guilty.
School divisions in and around Winnipeg are dealing with a lack of bus drivers, which is leading to some routes being cancelled.
Dozens of people gathered Friday morning in Steinbach to search for a man missing more than a week.
A man died Thursday morning in Saskatoon following a shooting, according to police.
The Saskatoon Tribal Council's Fairhaven Wellness Centre opens its doors and is nearly at capacity.
'We're going after the offenders': Sask. to suspend welfare benefits for 'serious' offenders with warrants
The Government of Saskatchewan has introduced legislation to suspend social assistance benefits to prolific violent offenders with active warrants, and to use information from the Ministry of Social Services to find those evading the law.
Three local businesses in Regina announced they are closing their doors for good.
'Part of him with me': Sask. man fixing up grandpa's classic truck after finding it for sale on social media
A 24-year-old man from Preeceville, Sask. was reunited with his grandfather's classic, custom-made Ford truck after finding it on social media and plans to restore it to its former glory.
The Regina Police Service (RPS) is asking the public for information or video that could assist in the investigation into a building explosion in the north central area on Nov. 13.
Two people are in custody after a shooting in the Fredericton area left two people injured and prompted police to issue an emergency alert in New Brunswick.
Four organizations representing Greater Moncton’s business community held a press conference Friday calling for urgent action in regards to downtown safety and the homelessness situation.
Nova Scotia’s latest Respiratory Watch data shows that in the last three weeks of November, lab-confirmed cases more than doubled each week.
The City of London began its annual “Lighting of the Lights” event at Victoria Park on Friday evening.
With community consultations now complete, the design and construction of the Community Addictions Hub for Sarnia-Lambton is ready to move forward. It's viewed as a significant advancement in the effort to help people cope with addictions and find a road to recovery.
City hall finally provided a rationale why specific city parks were selected to be on a list where homeless encampments are proactively removed.
On Friday afternoon at the Sudbury Courthouse, two men pled guilty in an arson case that killed three people in a townhouse on Bruce Avenue in April 2021.
A Timmins doctor charged with sexual assault in July is facing several more charges after five more people came forward, police said Friday.
The Timmins and District Hospital's assessment clinic has been busy seeing people with respiratory illnesses.
Kitchener firefighters were called to put out flames at a construction trailer early Friday morning, and inside, they found a body.
Woodstock police say new child porn charges have been laid against a former doctor.
Environment Canada has issued a wind warning for much of southwestern Ontario saying strong gusts are expected Saturday morning and continuing into the afternoon.