December 11, 2023

After a one-week dip, the number of COVID-19 cases in B.C. hospitals bounced back upward Thursday, as test-positivity across the province showed signs of trending higher.

As of Dec. 15, there were 374 cases in hospital, up 15 from last week, according to the B.C. Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC). There were 31 cases in critical care, down three from the week prior.

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The province’s hospitalization model counts all cases in hospitals, regardless of the patient’s initial reason for admission.

For the week ending Dec. 10, the BCCDC reported just 659 new cases, though this figure was derived based on the province’s extremely limited lab testing, which has been accessible only to people at the highest risk since last December.

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The province conducted just 7,198 tests that week.

The seven-day moving average of provincewide test positivity climbed to 12.3 per cent on Dec. 10, from 9.8 per cent previously, with positivity climbing in all health regions except for the north.

The biggest increases were in the Interior Health region, where test positivity jumped to 15.9 per cent from 11.4 per cent, and the Island Health region where it jumped to 14.9 per cent from 11.9 per cent.

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For the week ending Dec. 10, the BCCDC reported 171 new COVID-19 hospital admissions, though this number is preliminary and typically revised upward by more than 20 per cent the following week.

As always, determining the number of people actually dying from COVID-19 remains a major challenge with currently available data.

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The BCCDC reported 27 deaths for the week ending Dec. 10, but this figure comes with numerous caveats. As with hospital admissions, the number is typically revised upward the following week. But the figure counts anyone who died within 30 days of their first positive test, which officials admit overcounts deaths.

Subsequent review since April has found about four in 10 deaths reported this way were actually caused by COVID-19. Determining the true cause of death takes about eight weeks.

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Of the 1,729 “COVID-19 deaths” the province has reported this way since the start of April, just 699 were later determined to have been caused by the virus, while 902 were not and 128 remain under investigation.

The BCCDC’s latest situation report shows that 88.9 per cent of those actual COVID-19 deaths were among people aged 70 and older.

That same report confirmed at least 82 COVID-19 deaths between Sept. 18 and Oct. 15, an average of about 2.9 per day.

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