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B.C. reports 8 COVID-19 deaths as hospitalizations fall below 500

B.C. provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry, back, and health minister Adrian Dix arrive for a COVID-19 update news conference, in Vancouver, on Tuesday, February 1, 2022. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck B.C. provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry, back, and health minister Adrian Dix arrive for a COVID-19 update news conference, in Vancouver, on Tuesday, February 1, 2022. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
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Another eight deaths have been attributed to COVID-19 in British Columbia, the government announced Friday as the number of test-positive patients in hospital dropped below 500.

The Ministry of Health said there are 484 people hospitalized with COVID-19 across the province, which includes incidental patients who were admitted for reasons unrelated to the disease but tested positive through routine screening.

The number of patients in intensive care also fell to 69, down from 79 on Thursday.

But coronavirus-related deaths haven't been decreasing as steadily as hospitalizations. The ministry's update put the province's seven-day average for COVID-19 deaths, which has fluctuated up and down over the last several weeks, at 7.57 per day.

Island Health reported four of the deaths and Fraser Health reported two, while Vancouver Coastal Health and Interior Health reported one each.

There have been 2,903 deaths attributed to COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic. The Ministry of Health said one was removed from the total due to a "data correction."

The government does not disclose the vaccination status of the deceased in daily COVID-19 updates, but data from the B.C. Centre for Disease Control shows the unvaccinated are dying at a higher rate than those with vaccine protection.

So far, 90.7 per cent of eligible B.C. residents have received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine, and 86.4 per cent have received two. Fifty-eight per cent of eligible adults have also received a third dose or booster shot.

No new outbreaks have been declared in health-care facilities since Thursday's update, and the one at Polson Long Term Care has ended. That leaves 20 active outbreaks across the health-care system, most at long-term care homes in the Interior Health and Island Health regions.

The Ministry of Health also reported 340 confirmed cases of COVID-19 on Friday, though most healthy people are no longer being tested and would not be included in that tally.

Officials still believe transmission is declining along with hospitalization numbers, and provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix have said they hope to relax some COVID-19 measures in time for spring break.

The government is expected to provide an update on restrictions next week.

The province lifted restrictions related to venue capacity, indoor dining, bars, nightclubs and wedding receptions last month, but has so far opted not to follow other provinces in lifting mask mandates for indoor public spaces or ending the use of vaccine passports for certain activities. 

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