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Unvaccinated COVID-19 patients fill B.C. hospitals

B.C. has 288 COVID-19 patients in hospitals – highest count since May 28
COVID vaccination
Health official administers a COVID-19 vaccine

Data continues to show that B.C.'s fourth wave of the COVID-19 pandemic is fuelled by unvaccinated individuals. 

The overall number of COVID-19 patients in B.C. hospitals has been rising in recent weeks, with 288 now known to be in those facilities with the disease – the highest number since May 28. Of those 140 are in intensive care units (ICUs). The number of people in B.C. ICUs has risen in each of the past 13 data updates, and is the highest that it has been since May 14, when there were 141 people in those wards. 

After factoring for age, people not vaccinated are 34.2 times more likely to be hospitalized than those fully vaccinated, according to the province.

One breakdown, for the two weeks that ended on September 9, shows that for every 100,000 unvaccinated people in the province, 306.3 people were admitted to B.C. hospitals. That compares with 92.9 for every 100,000 people who have had one dose of vaccine, and 27.4 for every 100,000 people who have had two doses of vaccine and are considered fully vaccinated. 

Of the 348 hospitalizations in the two weeks ended September 9, there were:
• 282 not vaccinated (81%);
• 18 partially vaccinated (5.2%); and
• 48 fully vaccinated (13.8%).

Data from yesterday held that 87% of those in ICUs were unvaccinated people. Another 6% were people who had only received one dose, leaving 7% of the total being people who were fully vaccinated. B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix said at a press conference today that those proportions have changed little in the past day.

The disproportionate number of unvaccinated people in ICUs is remarkable given that the province now considers 86% of those eligible to receive vaccine doses to be vaccinated with one shot, and 78.5% of that eligible population to be fully vaccinated. The result is that a small slice of the population is responsible for the lion's share of those taking up ICU beds, and staff time.

Health officials provided 12,392 doses of vaccine to British Columbians in the past day, with 6,535 of those being to unvaccinated individuals, and 5,857 going as needed second doses. 

Of the 3,985,159 B.C. residents who have received one dose of vaccine, more than 91.3%, or 3,638,404 are fully vaccinated. 

The B.C. government estimated in July that the province's total population is 5,147,712, so Glacier Media's calculation is that 77.4% of B.C.'s total population has had at least one dose of vaccine, and 70.7% of the province's total population has had two doses.

One bit of news is that there was an infant who was one of the 139 people in an ICU yesterday. That baby has since left that ward, Dix said. The youngest COVID-19 patient now in an ICU in B.C. is in the 10-12 age range. Dix would not provide details of that person's situation. 

Health officials detected 677 new COVID-19 infections in the past day, raising the number of those actively battling the disease to 6,165 – the highest number since May 7.

The unvaccinated have also been racking up greater numbers of new infections than those who have had one or two doses of vaccine. 

Data show that of the 4,779 cases detected in the week ended September 9:
• 3,305 (69.2%) were unvaccinated;
• 411 (8.6%) were partially vaccinated; and
• 1,063 (22.2%) were fully vaccinated.

More than 95.2%, or 167,416 of the 175,819 people who have been infected in B.C. are deemed by the province to have recovered because they have gone 10 days after first feeling symptoms, and are therefore not thought to be infectious.

Another person passed away while infected in the past day, raising the province's pandemic death toll to 1,866.

One new health-care facility outbreak is at Westminster House in Surrey. The outbreak at the Brock Fahrni facility in Vancouver has been declared over. B.C. therefore continues to have 24 active outbreaks at health-care facilities.

The health regions in B.C. with the highest new cases, and active cases on a per-capita basis are Northern Health and Interior Health. 

Glacier Media crunched the numbers for how many of the 677 cases identified in the past day were in each of the province's health regions. The result for the number of new infections for each 10,000 residents (with total new cases in brackets) was:
• 1.3 in Fraser Health (237);
• 0.8 in Vancouver Coastal Health (102);
• 2.1 in Interior Health (153);
• 3.3 in Northern Health (99); and
• 1 in Island Health (86).

No new cases were in people who normally reside outside B.C.

The result by health region for the 6,165 people fighting active infections for each 10,000 residents (with total new cases in brackets) was:
• 10.8 in Fraser Health (1,948);
• 8.2 in Vancouver Coastal Health (1,030);
• 21.3 in Interior Health (1,583);
• 32.1 in Northern Health (964); and
• 7.4 in Island Health (627).

The active case counts include 13 people who normally live outside B.C.

gkorstrom@biv.com

@GlenKorstrom