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COVID-19 hospitalizations dipping, but 19 deaths reported in 24 hours in latest B.C. update

Two COVID-19 rapid tests that were given to a motorist are displayed at a Fraser Health drive-thru pick up site in Surrey, B.C., on Thursday, January 20, 2022. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck Two COVID-19 rapid tests that were given to a motorist are displayed at a Fraser Health drive-thru pick up site in Surrey, B.C., on Thursday, January 20, 2022. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

Another 19 deaths have been attributed to COVID-19 in British Columbia in the last 24 hours, the Ministry of Health said in its daily update.

The update included that 946 people who've tested positive for the disease are in hospital, down from 985 from the day before, and from more than 1,000 earlier this week.

Hospitalizations are often seen as an indicator of the severity of the dominant variants in B.C., but the death rate shows that even as patients are released from hospital, lives are still being lost.

Nineteen is not a record number of deaths in B.C. – the highest single-day total was in December 2020, when 28 people died – but it is high considering officials said three weeks ago that the province likely hit its transmission peak

The daily death toll also pushes the rolling seven-day average to 11.1 deaths, the highest that number has been in more than a year.

Of the patients in hospital with COVID-19, 139 people are being treated in intensive care units across B.C. The metric described by health officials as hospitalizations is a total that includes both those who have serious enough illness to require hospitalization and those who were admitted to hospital for other reasons and tested positive incidentally.

The number only includes cases confirmed through testing, as does the total of daily confirmed cases. Once treated as an important figure in measuring the spread of the novel coronavirus, testing guidelines mean that it's hard to say how many people actually have COVID-19, as most people with symptoms are now just told to stay home and assume they have it.

Still, it's a figure provided daily. Friday's update, the final update of the week, included that another 1,799 people have tested positive.

The active total now stands at 25,479, though health officials say it could be much, much higher, and the total number of cases confirmed since the start of the pandemic has risen to 330,942.

Of the latest cases added to the tally, 551 were in the Fraser Health Authority, 531 were in Interior Health, 294 were in Vancouver Coastal Health, 232 were in Island Health, and the remaining 191 were in Northern Health.

The vast majority of people confirmed to have the disease (301,573) have recovered.

But of the people known to have a COVID-19 infection, another 2,675 have died.

Six of the latest deaths were in the Vancouver Coastal Health region, and the same number of people died in the Island Health Authority. Five had lived in Fraser Health and two were in Northern Health.

The ministry does not provide the vaccination statuses of the deceased, but does give information on those in hospital.

Those who are unvaccinated continue to be over-represented. The group represents less than 14 per cent of the population, but more than 20 per cent of cases in the last two weeks, and 26.3 per cent of hospitalizations.

The province presents cases per 100,000 population in its daily updates. Between Jan. 27 and Feb. 2, when adjusting for age, there were 411.7 unvaccinated people with COVID-19 infections per 100,000 in B.C., compared to 162.6 among people who are partially vaccinated, and 234.8 among the fully vaccinated.

Over a two-week period, Jan. 20 to Feb. 2, there were 88.2 unvaccinated people per 100,000 in hospital, 49.6 partially vaccinated and 19 fully vaccinated.

Both the rates have been adjusted for age.

As of Friday, a total of 10,872,777 doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been administered in the province. Ninety per cent of all eligible people have had at least one shot, and 84.2 per cent have had both. About half of eligible adults have also had their booster shot.

Also announced Friday were three new health-care facility outbreaks, bringing the total to 58 facilities in B.C.

The latest outbreaks are at Creekside Landing (Interior Health), and at Chemainus Health Care Centre and Selkirk Seniors Village, both in the Interior Health area.

However, it's unclear exactly how widespread COVID-19 currently is in B.C. care homes, as there's confusion over changes to the criteria Top Stories

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