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Respiratory illness data: COVID, RSV rise, influenza declines in latest B.C. update

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Weekly respiratory illness data from the B.C. Centre for Disease Control was a mixed bag Thursday.

While influenza, RSV and COVID-19 levels are all well below their recent peaks, only the former continued its decline in the latest data.

RSV and COVID cases and test positivity each ticked upwards during the most recent epidemiological week, which spanned Feb. 18 to 24.

During that period, there were 464 new lab-confirmed COVID infections, up from 400 during the preceding week. That increase was not merely the product of increased testing, either, as the percentage of tests coming back positive rose to 12.3 per cent last week from 11.4 per cent the week before.

This week's test positivity rate for COVID-19 is the highest it's been since early November, according to BCCDC data, but still well below the levels seen during the most recent surge in October. 

Similarly, RSV test positivity rose to 5.6 per cent during the week that ended Feb. 24, up from 4.9 per cent the week before, and the number of new infections detected grew to 218 from 189.

Influenza bucked the trend, with new cases dropping from 330 to 303 over the last two epidemiological weeks and positivity declining from 8.2 per cent to 7.5 per cent.

All of these changes are fairly minor, and the BCCDC notes in its update that the RSV and influenza peaks "have passed," while COVID data remains "relatively stable."

The slight increases in confirmed COVID-19 infections and test positivity are matched in this week's hospitalization data, as well. The BCCDC reported 156 people in provincial hospitals with the disease as of Thursday. That's an increase of 10, or about 6.8 per cent, from last week. 

The number of people reported in hospital with COVID-19 in BCCDC updates in 2024 is shown. (CTV)

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