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COVID-19 hospitalizations in B.C. hit 10-week low

Another 16 people have died from the virus – twice as many as yesterday, raising the province's death toll from the virus to 1,234.
Bonnie Henry at podium in blue
Provincial health officer Bonnie Henry gave an update on COVID-19 in B.C. earlier this week

The number of people in B.C. with serious enough infections to be hospitalized due to the COVID-19 virus has fallen to a 10-week low, according to new data the province released February 3.

Thanks to 16 fewer people in hospital, compared with yesterday, there are now 278 people in that situation, which is the lowest number since November 23, when there were 277 people in hospital. Of those now in hospitals, 80 are in intensive care units. That is down by two from yesterday. 

Another 16 people died from the virus overnight. That is twice as many as yesterday, and it raises the province's death toll from the virus to 1,234, since the first death was recorded in the province on March 9, 2020.

With 414 new infections, there have been a total of 68,780 cases of COVID-19 in the province since the first case was detected on January 28, 2020. More than 89.6% of those people, or 61,643, are listed as having recovered because they have had two consecutive negative tests. 

There are 4,426 people who are actively battling infections. The data fails to account for 1,477 people, out of the 68,780 total who are listed as having been infected, and health officials have told Glacier Media that the most likely reason for this is the individuals left the province without updating authorities on their status. 

Those officials are closely monitoring 7,049 people for symptoms because those people are known to have been in contact with infected individuals. 

Heathcare workers jabbed 1,694 more arms with vaccine in the past day, with the majority, or 1,320 of those doses, being second doses for the recipients. Both vaccines now being given in the province – the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine and the Moderna vaccine – require two doses to be most effective.

The breakdown of where the 414 new cases are located is as follows:
• 108 people in Vancouver Coastal Health (26.1%);
• 182 people in Fraser Health (44%);
• 26 in Island Health (6.2%);
• 63 in Interior Health (15.2%);
• 34 in Northern Health (8.2%) and
• one new infection in a person who lives outside Canada.

"Public health teams have conducted a full investigation at Garibaldi High school," provincial health officer Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix said in a joint statement. 

"Testing has confirmed the original person did have the B.1.1.7 variant of concern [sometimes referred to as the U.K. variant.] They have since recovered and there is no longer an exposure risk. Eighty-one students and eight educators were also tested and all are negative."

Henry and Dix said that rapid testing at the school indicated one positive case, which was later confirmed as a false positive through the subsequent, more reliable, polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test.

One new outbreak is at Burnaby General Hospital, meaning that there are now nine B.C. hospitals identified as having active COVID-19 outbreaks. They are:
• Burnaby General Hospital in Buranby;
• Cariboo Memorial Hospital in Williams Lake;
• Mount St. Joseph's Hospital in Vancouver;
• Nanaimo Regional General Hospital in Nanaimo;
• Royal Columbian Hospital in New Westminster;
• Royal Inland Hospital in Kamloops;
• St. Paul's Hospital in Vancouver;
• Surrey Memorial Hospital in Surrey; and
• University Hospital of Northern B.C. in Prince George.

COVID-19 outbreaks remain at 24 seniors' care homes, assisted-living facilities and retirement residences across the province. 

The three active outbreaks at seniors' living facilities in Vancouver Coastal Health are at:
• Hilltop House in Squamish,
• Minoru Residence in Richmond; and
• Holy Family long-term care centre in Vancouver.

There are 12 active outbreaks at seniors' living facilities in Fraser Health. They are at:
• Bradley Centre in Chilliwack;
• Concord By the Sea in White Rock;
• CareLife Fleetwood in Surrey;
• Eagle Ridge Manor in Port Moody;
• Evergreen Baptist Care Society in White Rock;
• George Derby Centre in Burnaby;
• Glenwood Seniors Community in Agassiz;
• Hilton Villa Seniors Community in Surrey;
• Madison Care Centre in Coquitlam;
• Royal City Manor in New Westminster;
• St. Michael's Centre Extended Care in Burnaby; and
• Suncreek Village in Surrey.

The two active outbreaks at a seniors' living facilities in Northern Health are at Jubilee Lodge in Prince George, and Acropolis Manor in Prince Rupert.

The six active outbreaks at seniors' living facilities in Interior Health are at:
• Brocklehurst Gemstone Care Centre in Kamloops;
• Creekside Landing in Vernon;
• Heritage Square in Vernon;
• Noric House in Vernon;
• Sunnybank Retirement Home in Oliver; and
• Westsyde Care Residences in Kamloops.

The only outbreak at a seniors' facility in Island Health is at Chartwell Malaspina Care Residence in Nanaimo.

gkorstrom@biv.com

@GlenKorstrom