Skip to main content

On the first day of fall, B.C. sees fewest people in hospital with COVID-19 in months

COVID-19 rapid test

The number of people with COVID-19 in B.C. hospitals is the lowest it's been since early July, according to the latest update from the B.C. Centre for Disease Control.

There were 305 people in hospital with the disease as of Thursday – which is the autumnal equinox and the first official day of fall. Officials have been warning for months that the coronavirus is likely to spread more widely in the fall and winter.

The number of COVID-19 patients in B.C. hospitals on Thursdays since the province switched to a "hospital census" model for counting them in January is shown. (CTV)

The number of patients in hospital reported by the BCCDC each week includes both those with serious cases of COVID-19 requiring medical attention and those who are hospitalized for other reasons and test positive for COVID incidentally.

Since the province began counting hospitalizations using this "hospital census" model, there have been as many as 985 people in hospital with the coronavirus and as few as 255.

For the last several weeks, however, the total has remained between 300 and 400. The last time there were more than 400 COVID-19 patients in B.C. hospitals was Aug. 4, and the last time there were fewer than 300 was June 30.

Though Thursday's total is the lowest in months, it's not a significant departure from the levels of hospitalization that have been seen in the province since the most recent wave of infections subsided.

The coronavirus continues to circulate fairly widely in B.C., with the BCCDC reporting 637 new, lab-confirmed cases in the most recent epidemiological week. That's a slight increase from the previous week, when 574 new cases were reported.

Because the province only counts cases that are confirmed through lab testing – which is unavailable to British Columbians in most circumstances – the official totals are a dramatic undercount of COVID-19 cases province-wide.

Last month, the independent B.C. COVID-19 Modelling Group estimated that there were approximately 100 times as many new infections each week as the BCCDC reported. 

If that estimate is correct, there were roughly 63,700 new cases of COVID-19 in B.C. from Sept. 11 to 17, or about 9,100 per day. 


Whether the slight increase in the official case count – which is mirrored in wastewater surveillance at two of five treatment plants in Metro Vancouver – is the start of an expected fall surge remains to be seen.

Provincial health officials have been planning for such a surge for months, and bivalent vaccines that target the Omicron family of SARS-CoV-2 variants are now being distributed across B.C.

As of Sept. 18, according to the Ministry of Health, B.C. had received 415,000 doses of Moderna's bivalent vaccine, and administered 44,000.

That means the bivalent vaccine likely made up the majority of the 51,885 doses administered in the province during the week of Sept. 11 to 17. Bivalent doses began being administered in pharmacies in the Lower Mainland on Sept. 9, according to the ministry.

The ministry said more than 75,000 fall booster appointments had been booked for this week in its statement to CTV News on Wednesday. Top Stories

Stay Connected