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B.C. surpasses 3,000 COVID-19 deaths in latest update


B.C.'s COVID-19 death toll has surpassed 3,000, the Ministry of Health announced Friday.

After four deaths in the last 24 hours, there have now been 3,002 attributed to the coronavirus in the province since the pandemic began.

Two of the latest deaths were reported in Island Health, and one each was reported in Fraser Health and Interior Health.

Friday's update also included 357 new lab-confirmed cases of COVID-19, which is the highest single-day total the ministry has reported in nearly a month, and the first time the daily case count has topped 300 since March 10.

Daily case counts only include positive PCR test results, and therefore don't capture the true spread of the coronavirus in B.C., because most symptomatic people don't qualify for a PCR test.

Still, caseloads had been trending downward until the last two weeks, when the rolling seven-day average for new cases in the province began to climb again, slightly. On Friday, the average stood at 248.6 cases per day, up from 228.7 on Thursday.

Hospitalizations, which are considered a truer indication of the impact of COVID-19 on the province than case counts, have been fluctuating in recent weeks. On Friday, there were 274 test-positive patients in B.C. hospitals, down from 281 the previous day.

COVID-19 hospitalization totals in B.C. include those who are admitted to hospital for other reasons, but test positive for the disease during routine screening. Health officials have previously estimated that these so-called "incidental" cases account for about 45 per cent of total hospitalizations in the province.

As of Friday, there were 35 COVID-19 patients in intensive care units in B.C. That's the lowest total in more than seven months, and the first time the number has been below 40 since Aug. 13, 2021.

It should be noted that hospitalizations and ICU admissions are generally lagging indicators. They don't typically begin to increase or decrease substantially until a week or two after case counts.

On Friday, Canada's Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Theresa Tam said the country is in the midst of a "resurgence" of COVID-19, driven by the BA.2 sub-variant of the Omicron strain of the coronavirus. 

The resurgence is not unexpected, given the recent removal of nearly all public health restrictions in most provinces, Tam said, adding that she recommends people continue wearing masks and maintaining layers of protection against the coronavirus.

Federal health officials expect that the current increase in transmission will be "manageable" for provincial health-care systems without the need for restrictive new public health measures, but they also recommend that anyone who has not received a booster shot of a COVID-19 vaccine do so.

In B.C., that's a significant portion of the population. More than 40 per cent of adults had not received a third dose of vaccine as of Friday, according to the provincial Ministry of Health, though that total also includes the roughly six per cent of adults who have not received any doses of COVID-19 vaccine.

Among adults, 59.3 per cent had received a booster shot.

A total of 90.9 per cent of eligible B.C. residents ages five and older had received a first dose of vaccine as of Friday, and 87.4 per cent had received two shots. Top Stories

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