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Influenza, RSV decline, COVID rises in latest B.C. respiratory illness update

B.C. Children’s Hospital is seen in this file photo.
B.C. Children’s Hospital is seen in this file photo.

B.C. health officials said last week that they believed the current respiratory illness season was at or near its peak, and that new infections would soon begin declining. Testing data released by the B.C. Centre for Disease Control Thursday supports that conclusion.  

New positive tests for influenza and RSV each declined significantly during the most recent epidemiological week, which spanned Jan. 7 to 13.

While there were 850 new flu infections confirmed through testing during the week that ended Jan. 6, there were just 499 during the most recent week, according to BCCDC data released Thursday.

Likewise, new RSV infections declined from 534 to 364 during the same span.

Test positivity also declined, indicating that the lower raw numbers were not simply a byproduct of reduced testing.

According to the BCCDC, 10.2 per cent of influenza tests came back positive during the week that ended Jan. 13, down from 14.9 per cent the week before.

For RSV, test positivity dropped to 7.8 per cent from 9.9 per cent.

Circulation of both viruses remains elevated, however, even with the declines in positive tests. The latest wastewater surveillance data for both RSV and influenza shows concentrations at most treatment plants are still at or near their highest points of the season. 


COVID-19 was a different story this week. While influenza and RSV infections and test positivity declined, COVID cases rose.

The BCCDC says there were 543 new infection episodes during the week that ended Jan. 13, up from 511 the week before. 

Testing data shows 579 positive results during the most recent week, up from 557 the week before, and positivity rose from 10.2 per cent to 12.2 per cent.

Wastewater surveillance for COVID shows increasing virus concentrations at some plants, particularly in the Lower Mainland.

Despite these modest rises in infections and transmission, the hospital census – the number of COVID-positive patients currently in hospitals across the provinces – declined Thursday in comparison to the last time the BCCDC published data.

There were 172 test-positive patients in hospital as of Thursday, a decrease from the 219 the BCCDC reported on Jan. 4. The agency did not update its total last week, citing an unspecified "technical issue." 

The B.C. Centre for Disease Control's publicly released figures for the number of test-positive COVID-19 patients in B.C. hospitals since January 2023 are shown. (CTV) Top Stories

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