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Number of COVID-19 patients in B.C. hospitals falls to lowest level in 2 months

A sign at the entrance to Surrey Memorial Hospital is seen on Saturday, Feb. 5, 2022. (CTV) A sign at the entrance to Surrey Memorial Hospital is seen on Saturday, Feb. 5, 2022. (CTV)

The number of COVID-19 patients in B.C. hospitals has declined again, dropping below 400 for the first time since mid-April.

There were 325 test-positive patients in hospitals in the province as of Thursday, according to the B.C. Centre for Disease Control. That's the lowest hospital census B.C. has seen since April 7.

This graph, compiled by CTV News Vancouver, shows the number of test-positive COVID-19 patients in B.C. hospitals on Thursdays since the province switched to a "hospital census" model that doesn't attempt to separate incidental hospitalizations from the total in January. (CTV)

B.C.'s COVID-19 hospitalization numbers include both patients who have severe illness caused by the coronavirus and those who are hospitalized for other reasons and test positive incidentally.

Since January, when the BCCDC stopped attempting to separate incidental hospitalizations from those caused by COVID-19, the number of test-positive patients in B.C. hospitals on a Thursday has been as high as 985 and as low as 255.

Thursday's total included 28 patients who were in critical care with the coronavirus, the lowest number B.C. has seen since before the change in counting methods.


Other data released by the BCCDC Thursday covers the last full epidemiological week, from May 29 to June 4.

During that period, the province confirmed 895 new cases, though that total includes only lab-confirmed and epidemiologically linked infections. Data on cases of COVID-19 confirmed through rapid antigen testing – which is the only testing method available to most B.C. residents with symptoms under the province's current testing strategy – is neither collected nor released.

Still, the number of lab-confirmed cases reported by the BCCDC each week has been declining alongside the number of patients in hospital.

The 895 new cases reported this week are the lowest total B.C. has seen since health officials began releasing data weekly, rather than daily.

Similarly, wastewater surveillance in the Lower Mainland continues to show declining concentrations of the coronavirus, reinforcing the trends seen in hospitalizations and lab-confirmed cases.

According to the latest "situation report" from the BCCDC, viral loads at four of the region's five wastewater treatment plants had dropped substantially from their most recent peak as of June 4. 

The largest decrease was at the Northwest Langley plant, which has seen a 71 per cent drop in coronavirus concentrations since its most recent peak five weeks ago, according to the BCCDC.

The Lions Gate plant has seen a 53 per cent decrease since its most recent peak, which was three weeks ago.

COVID-19 levels at Annacis Island have decreased by 48 per cent since their peak six weeks ago, and levels declined by 36 per cent at the Iona Island plant last week, following two weeks of increases.

The only plant that saw an increase in coronavirus concentration last week was Lulu Island, which saw an increase of 18 per cent after "five weeks of general decreases," according to the situation report. 


B.C.'s declining levels of COVID-19 transmission come as second booster doses of vaccine continue to be offered to seniors and long-term care residents.

The province administered 57,270 new doses of COVID-19 vaccine during the week of May 29 to June 4, with 82 per cent of that total going to people who meet the province's current criteria for fourth shots

As of June 5, 27 per cent of people ages 70 and older in B.C. had received four shots of a COVID-19 vaccine.

Among those ages five and older, 91 per cent had received a first shot, 88 had received two shots and 55 per cent had received three.

Data shared on the BCCDC's COVID-19 Surveillance Dashboard shows lower rates of hospitalization, critical care admission and death for those who have received a booster shot, compared to those who are unvaccinated or have received just two doses of vaccine. 

Reported death rates have been somewhat unstable since the province changed the way it reports COVID-19 deaths on April 2. 

On that date, health officials began automatically recording every death that involved a person who had tested positive for COVID-19 within the preceding 30 days, rather than attempting to sort out whether the disease was the underlying cause of death, as they had done before April 2.

This switch to "30-day, all-cause mortality" came with the promise that B.C.'s Vital Statistics agency would determine the underlying cause of death for each reported death, a process that takes roughly eight weeks, according to the BCCDC.

The centre's weekly situation report now shows the results of that process. Between April 2 and May 28, there were a total of 561 deaths reported. Of those, 203 have not had an underlying cause determined.

Of the remaining 358 deaths, 160 have been attributed to COVID-19 as the underlying cause, while the remaining 198 have not. This means about 45 per cent of the deaths reported under the "30-day, all-cause mortality" system for which a cause has been determined were actually caused by COVID-19.

On Thursday, the BCCDC reported 43 additional all-cause mortality deaths, a total that is expected to increase "as data become more complete." If 45 per cent of those deaths were actually caused by COVID-19, the number of deaths caused by the disease between May 29 and June 4 would be 19, or about 2.8 per day. Top Stories

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