December 3, 2023

With B.C. in the midst of another wave of COVID-19 infections, the number of patients in hospital with the disease has risen quickly over the last two weeks. The increase hasn’t been evenly distributed across regions, however.

Data from the B.C. Centre for Disease Control shows that the number of test-positive patients in hospital rose from 273 on June 30, to 369 the following week, and 426 on Thursday. That’s a roughly 56-per-cent increase in hospitalizations in two weeks. 

The largest share of hospitalizations has consistently been in the Fraser Health region, which is the most populous in the province.

But while Fraser Health saw a spike in the number of people in hospital with COVID-19 from June 30 to July 7, the number actually decreased from July 7 to Thursday. There were 121 COVID patients in the region as of June 30, which grew to 172 the following week, before dropping to 157 last week, good for a net 30-per-cent increase over the two-week period.

Every other regional health authority saw its hospitalized population rise between July 7 and last week, though some grew more dramatically than others.

Vancouver Coastal Health had the next-highest hospitalization total, with 102 people in hospital as of Thursday. That’s an increase from 82 on July 7 and 66 on June 30, or a 55-per-cent increase over the two weeks.

Island Health went from 49 people in hospital with COVID-19 on June 30, to 55 on July 7, and then to 89 last week. That’s an 82-per-cent two-week increase.

Interior Health saw its hospital census nearly double in the same time frame, growing from 25 on June 30, to 36 on July 7, and 49 on Thursday – a 96-per-cent increase.

The largest percentage increase, however, came in the least-populous health authority, which has the fewest patients in hospital. Northern Health saw its total rise from just seven patients three weeks ago, to 18 on July 7, and 26 last week. That’s a near-quadrupling over two weeks, to the highest hospitalization total seen in the region since April.

This graph shows the number of COVID-19 patients in hospital in each of B.C.’s five regional health authorities on Thursdays since April 22. (CTV)

The latest regional totals don’t add up to the overall total of 426 because COVID-19 patients in Provincial Health Services Authority facilities are not reported by region on the BCCDC’s COVID-19 dashboard. The regional totals add up to 423, implying that there were three COVID-19 patients in PHSA facilities as of Thursday.

Hospitalization figures in B.C. include both people who are admitted to hospital because of serious illness from COVID-19 and those who are hospitalized for other reasons and test positive incidentally.

Since the province began counting hospitalizations this way – rather than attempting to sort out and report only those hospitalizations that were actually caused by COVID-19 – there have been as many as 985 patients in hospital on a Thursday, province-wide, and as few as 255. 


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