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B.C. COVID-19 deaths rebound from multi-month low

COVID-19 hospitalizations in B.C. fall to lowest level since June
Paramedics attend to a patient | Getty Images / Ted Horowitz

The number of people dying from COVID-19 in B.C. has rebounded from multi-month lows, according to new provincial data. 

Government statistics hold that 22 people in B.C. died from the disease in the week ended Sept. 17. That is up by six from 16 the previous week, which was the lowest total for any week since the province started providing data on a weekly basis in April. 

Some good news was that the number of hospitalized people in B.C. known to have tested positive for the SARS-CoV-2 virus, which causes COVID-19, has shrunk by nine, to 305 as of today. That is the lowest tally for COVID-19 hospitalizations in B.C. since June 30.

Of those in hospital with the disease, 22 are sick enough to be in intensive care units (ICUs), one fewer than last week.

B.C. data for COVID-19 is widely thought to be inaccurate.

Data for new COVID-19 deaths in B.C. includes anyone who tested positive for COVID-19 within 30 days and then died – a calculation that could include people who tested positive and then died in car accidents.

Government data counting is also suspect. 

Despite the province reporting 22 new COVID-19 deaths, it raised its figure for the total number of people believed to have died from the disease in B.C. by 37, to 4,253.

Higher additions to the overall COVID-19 death toll in the province than newly counted COVID-19 deaths has happened consistently for months, and it is the opposite of what Henry in April said would happen when the province shifted to reporting data on a weekly basis. 

She said in April that she was changing the process for counting deaths, and that the new procedure would be to include all deaths that involved people infected with COVID-19 in weekly updates and the overall death toll. She said that the province's Vital Statistics Agency would then determine that some deaths were not due to COVID-19 and that it would remove those deaths from the overall death toll. That does not appear to be happening. 

Glacier Media has asked the Ministry of Health why the death toll consistently rises more than the number of new deaths but has not received a satisfactory explanation. The ministry's most recent response was that the data "may be incomplete," but there has never been any updates to previously announced weekly death totals. 

The government said today that 637 new infections were detected in the week ended Sept. 17 – up by 63 from the 574 known new infections in the week ended Sept. 10. Given that there were said to be 15,724 official tests, that works out to a 4.05-per-cent positive-test rate, which is the lowest such rate since the week that ended June 11.

Data for new infections is widely dismissed. Even Henry, earlier this year, called the data for new cases "not accurate." This is because in December she started telling people who were vaccinated and had mild symptoms to not get tested and to simply self-isolate. She said at the time that this was to increase testing capacity for those with more serious symptoms and those who are more vulnerable. •