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COVID-19 update: B.C. hospitalizations increase to 8-month high of 469

Vancouver -

The number of patients hospitalized with COVID-19 across B.C. has increased once again, reaching an eight-month high of 469.

That includes 97 patients in intensive care, according to Tuesday's update from the Ministry of Health. The government did not provide a breakdown of those patients' vaccination status, but health officials have said the majority of recent ICU admissions have been unvaccinated.

Speaking at a news conference earlier in the day, provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry revealed there are currently three people in their 20s and another in their 30s in critical care – all unvaccinated.

"It creates a lot of distress for our health-care workers to be caring for young people and seeing them in so much distress when it can be prevented,” she said.

"This wave is moving quickly, and it means you need to do everything to protect yourself right now."

The last time B.C.'s hospitalization numbers reached this level was May 5, when there were 481 COVID-19 patients across the province. Of those, 161 were in ICU, a significantly higher percentage than there are now.

The ministry also announced three more deaths related to COVID-19, bringing B.C.'s seven-day average up to 3.14 per day – the highest it's been since Dec. 15.

Officials reported 2,239 confirmed cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday as well, though the province has lost the ability to accurately track transmission due to limited testing capacity.

An independent COVID-19 modelling group estimated the 2,106 cases announced Monday could be approximately one-sixth of the true figure.

There is no question B.C. is experiencing unprecedented levels of transmission, and that has triggered a new wave of outbreaks in health-care facilities. Another four were announced Tuesday, at Abbotsford Regional Hospital, Glenwood Seniors Community, Saanich Peninsula Hospital's long-term care centre, and Oyster Harbour.

Two other outbreaks were declared over, leaving a total of 45 active outbreaks at health-care facilities.

As recently as Dec. 22, there were no outbreaks in those settings anywhere in the province.

Henry stressed that there is more and more evidence emerging that even though Omicron is causing more breakthrough infections than previous variants, being fully vaccinated provided strong protection against hospitalization – especially with three doses.

"You're 60 to 70 per cent less likely to need hospital care up to six months after you`ve received your dose two, so that's great – that is really important right now," she said.

"And that protection from hospitalizations, severe illness and death increases once again back up to the high 80s to 90s per cent after that booster dose."

So far, 88.8 per cent of eligible B.C. residents have received one dose, and 83.2 per cent have received two. Just under 29 per cent of adults have received a booster dose as well. Top Stories

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