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COVID-19 update: B.C. reports 44 deaths over Family Day long weekend

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Another 44 deaths were attributed to COVID-19 over the Family Day long weekend, B.C.’s Ministry of Health revealed Tuesday.

The latest coronavirus-related deaths, recorded over four 24-hour reporting periods, pushed the province's seven-day average to 9.29 deaths per day, up from 5.7 as of Friday.

Vancouver Coastal Health reported 17 of the deaths, the most of any health authority. Fraser Health reported 11, Interior Health seven, Island Health five and Northern Health four.

The number of test-positive patients in hospital continued to decrease over the same period, going from 733 on Friday down to 688 on Tuesday. That includes both patients suffering from severe COVID-19 illness and those who tested positive incidentally after being admitted to hospital for reasons unrelated to the disease.

The number of COVID-19 patients in intensive care only decreased by five, ending up at 108.

Another 2,103 confirmed cases were reported over the weekend as well, though daily infection numbers have not been considered an accurate measure of transmission since B.C. stopped testing most people.

The cases totals recorded from Friday to Tuesday are also "provisional due to a delayed data refresh," the Ministry of Health said in a news release.

Despite the unreliability of daily infection numbers, officials have said they believe transmission is declining, based on wastewater monitoring, test-positivity rates and other measures.

It's unclear whether the easing of COVID-19 measures last week will reverse any of that progress. Bars and nightclubs were packed on the first weekend dancing was allowed to resume in B.C., though social media videos showed many ignored masking requirements.

Four new health-care facility outbreaks have been declared since Friday, at Hillside Village, Polson Long-Term Care, Mission Creek Landing and Williams Lake Seniors Village, all located in the Interior Health region. Six other outbreaks ended over the weekend, leaving 31 active across the health-care system.

The unvaccinated remain much more likely to be hospitalized with COVID-19, according to the ministry's release. Between Feb. 4 and 17, that group was hospitalized at a rate of 61.8 cases per 100,000 population, after adjusting for age, compared to 11.6 cases per 100,000 among the fully vaccinated.

So far, 90.5 per cent of eligible B.C. residents age five and older have received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine, and 85.9 per cent have received two.

Among adults, 57 per cent have received a third dose or booster shot.

Correction

A previous version of this story reported the seven-day average for COVID-19 deaths was at 8.8 per day as of Feb. 22, 2022. The average was actually 9.29 deaths per day.

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