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COVID-19 hospitalizations in B.C. decline from three-week high

Province tomorrow shifts to provide only weekly COVID-19 data updates.
St Pauls Hospital ambulances - gk
Ambulances sit outside Vancouver's St. Paul's Hospital

B.C.'s number of COVID-19 patients today declined by five, to 329, from yesterday's three-week high total of 334.

This news was in what the provincial government is calling its final daily COVID-19 data update. Its plan is to shift to weekly data updates each Thursday, starting tomorrow.

Of those now hospitalized, 37 are in intensive care units (ICU.) That is two more than yesterday, which was the lowest total since August. 

No new figure for the number of new COVID-19 deaths has been reported for the past five days.

When weekly figures for new COVID-19 deaths are reported, a new automated method of tallying those deaths will overestimate them, Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry warned yesterday. 

The current system of determining COVID-19 deaths involves manual work to confirm that each death was due to the disease. 

The future automated system will link lab results with information from the Vital Statistics Agency (VSA). The number of reported COVID-19 deaths will be anybody who in the past 30 days has tested positive for COVID-19, and then died. In situations where the VSA later determines that counted people did not die from COVID-19, the government will deduct those deaths from its total. The result will be an ongoing rolling total that may inaccurately include some people who had tested positive for COVID-19 and then died in automobile accidents. 

No new outbreaks have been reported at health-care facilities or seniors' homes, nor were any of the existing 11 outbreaks declared over. 

Vaccinations help limit the spread of the disease that spawned a multi-year global pandemic, and help to reduce the seriousness of infections that do occur.

The vast majority of British Columbians are already vaccinated, and new vaccinations are ongoing. In the past day, 357 residents received their first dose of vaccine, while 803 received their second doses, and 1,815 received third doses of vaccine. 

Fourth doses of vaccine will start to be provided to British Columbians in seniors' homes, those older than 70 years and Indigenous people older than 55 years starting in May or June. Those who have compromised immune systems will also be eligible for the doses, Henry said yesterday. 

In total, 4,530,329 eligible B.C. residents have had at least one dose of vaccine, while 4,359,332 are considered fully vaccinated with two doses, and 2,679,288 have had three doses.

Recent Statistics Canada 2021 census data counted 5,000,879 residents in B.C.

Glacier Media's calculation therefore is that more than 90.5 per cent of B.C.'s total population has had at least one dose of vaccine, and more than 87.1% per cent of the province's total population has had two doses. More than 53.5 per cent have had their third, or booster doses.

B.C. officials counted 216 new infections in the past day, but those counts are widely seen as not accurate because health officials have been telling vaccinated people with mild symptoms to stay home and not get tested so as to leave testing capacity for those who are more vulnerable of serious infections.  •