COVID-19 numbers in BC are holding steady, according to the province’s latest weekly report

Written by Javed Iqbal

British Columbia is reporting a slight increase in critical care patients and hospitalizations due to COVID-19, according to the latest pandemic data provided by health officials Thursday.

Despite the increase in critical care patients and hospitalizations due to COVID-19, fewer new patients were admitted to hospital with the disease compared to the previous week.

From Thursday d. The BC COVID-19 dashboard shows that 410 people are in hospital, including 38 people in critical care.

That’s a 2.2 percent increase in total admissions from last Thursday, when the province reported 401 people in hospital. The number of patients in the intensive care unit has increased by 8.6 percent from 35 a week ago.

COVID-19-related deaths have decreased by one. A total of 28 people died within a month of testing positive between July 24 and 30, according to the province. Most of the pandemic data provided on Thursday covers the week ending July 30.

The number of new patients admitted to both hospital and intensive care fell from last week by 14 and 22 per cent respectively.

The government says its weekly figures are preliminary. They are often changed retroactively because of delays in the count and the new way it measures weekly cases, admissions and deaths, although the statistics provide a snapshot of the disease’s impact from week to week.

The numbers released Thursday are part of an approach health officials in BC began taking a few months ago, both in moving to weekly reporting and in how certain metrics are calculated.

For example, deaths are recorded if a person died within 30 days of a positive COVID-19 test, regardless of whether the virus was confirmed as an underlying cause of death or not.

A total of 983 new cases were registered per July 30, for a total of 379,274 cases, based solely on laboratory-reported tests. But because testing is limited, the province says the number of cases underestimates the actual number of people with the disease.

Positivity rates, wastewater data stabilize

Provincewide test positivity rates of 11.1 per cent for the week ending July 30 showed no change from last week, according to the province’s dashboard.

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry has said anything above a test positivity of five percent is an indicator of a more worrisome level of community transmission.

Provincial data per July 23 shows that the BA.5 Omicron sub-variant was responsible for most cases. The immune-evasive variant is the main cause of the ongoing third wave of Omicron, according to the province.

A total of 242 people were hospitalized with the disease between July 24 and 30, according to the BC Center for Disease Control, a 14 percent decrease from the previous week.

Effluent tests at five different treatment plants, representing 50 per cent of BC’s population, show viral loads are increasing at Fraser Health compared to last week after a month of previous declines.

However, in the Vancouver Coastal Health region, wastewater results were mixed; The Vancouver facility is recording increasing viral loads, while the Richmond and North Shore plants saw significant declines.

BC is now approaching 4,000 COVID-19 deaths, with 3,940 recorded deaths per July 30.

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Javed Iqbal

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