B.C. is reporting a dip in COVID-19 hospitalizations for the second straight week and 42 more deaths, according to preliminary weekly data released by the B.C. Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC).
As of Thursday, 473 people are in hospital with the novel coronavirus, 42 of whom are in critical care, according to the province’s COVID-19 dashboard.
It represents a 12.4 per cent dip in overall hospitalizations from last Thursday when the province reported 540 people in hospital. The number of ICU patients is down by 14.2 per cent from 49 a week ago.
However, establishing clear trends from the province’s weekly data is problematic. The numbers issued in any given week are subject to revision and often retroactively adjusted, sometimes changing significantly by the time the next reports are released.
Much of the provincial data, which includes cases, hospital admissions and deaths and is at least five days old, is in weekly reports from the B.C. Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC).
Between May 15 and 21, B.C. health officials say 42 people died within 30 days of testing positive for COVID-19.
That number differs from the earlier method of reporting deaths, which saw all suspected COVID cases tested for the virus. Now, all those who died within a month of a positive test are counted in the official tally, whether or not the disease has been confirmed as a contributing factor.
The number is also likely to change by the following week. During the last reporting period, the province said that 59 people had died between May 8 and 14.
That total has been retroactively adjusted in the latest numbers to 86 deaths.
The province is reporting 1,358 new cases between May 15 and 21, based solely on positive PCR tests, for a total of 370,559 cases to date.
That represents a decline of 17 per cent from the previous week’s retroactive case count of 1,644.
However, because PCR testing is quite limited, the BCCDC points out the weekly case counts likely underestimate the actual number of cases.
Numerous organizations in B.C., including B.C. Ferries, are reporting staff shortages due to the spread of the virus.
Slight dip in people testing positive
The number of people testing positive has seen a slight dip across the province. A total of 8.6 per cent of all PCR tests came back positive in B.C. as of May 21, compared to 9.7 per cent the previous week.
Positivity rates vary across the province, with 14.9 per cent on Vancouver Island and 6.7 per cent in the Vancouver Coastal Health Authority.
Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry has said anything above a five per cent test-positivity rate is an indicator of a more worrying level of transmission.
A total of 282 people were admitted to hospital between May 15 and 21 for COVID-19.
According to the BCCDC’s regional dashboard, unvaccinated people were about twice as likely to require hospitalization over the last month than someone with three doses of the COVID-19 vaccine, four times more likely to require critical care and 1.47 times more likely to die.