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COVID-19 deaths in B.C. remain elevated, with 13 in past day

Related hospitalizations rise by 28 to 977
Ambulances wait outside Vancouver's St. Paul's Hospital | Photo: Glen Korstrom

Another 13 people with COVID-19 died overnight in B.C., raising the province's pandemic death toll to 2,588.

That daily count is down from the 13-month high of 22 deaths yesterday, but it remains higher than recent daily averages.

There were 152 COVID-19 deaths in the first 26 days of January, for an average of 5.85 per day. The 90 COVID-19 deaths in December translate into an average of 2.9 deaths per day. 

Ages of those who died from the disease in the past day were not immediately available. 

Most metrics for charting the progress of COVID-19 in B.C. are range-bound. 

There are 977 COVID-19 patients in B.C. hospitals, which is up 28 from yesterday, but down 10 from the record 987 three days ago. Of those now in hospital, 141 are in intensive care units (ICUs), which is up by five from yesterday, and down by three from two days ago. 

The number of those actively infected with COVID-19 dropped below 30,000 for the first time in more than three weeks. The province's inability to test all people who have symptoms, however, has meant that daily case-count data is unreliable. 

Testing centres across B.C. were overwhelmed in December, as health officials were diagnosing record-high numbers of new cases. As such, Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry told vaccinated people with mild illnesses to self-isolate and not get tested. Some people who went to testing centres were sent away without take-home tests if they did not meet certain criteria. The province's number of daily tests has also plummeted to less than 10,000, from more than 21,000 on December 24.

Provincial officials conducted 11,162 official tests in the past day, detecting 2,033 infections for an 18.21 per cent positive-test rate, which is within the range of the past few days.

Henry has recently stressed that older individuals are at particular risk of serious illness and death from COVID-19, as are people who are not vaccinated. 

The risk that elders face is of particular concern given that the number of seniors' homes and other health-care facilities has recently stayed above 60. 

There are 62 known outbreaks in those facilities, up a net total of one. Two new outbreaks in those facilities include one at Nanaimo Regional Hospital, and another at Nanaimo Seniors Village. The outbreak at Kelowna General Hospital has been declared over. 

Provincial data show 4,471,873 B.C. residents have had at least one dose of vaccine, while 93.3 per cent of those, or 4,171,956 are considered fully vaccinated with two doses. There were 38,899 people given booster, or third, doses of vaccine in the past day, for a total of 1,993,191.

The B.C. government last year estimated that the province's total population is 5,147,712. Hence, Glacier Media's calculation is that almost 86.9 per cent of B.C.'s total population has had at least one dose of vaccine, and 81 per cent of the province's total population has had two doses.  Slightly more than 38.7 per cent have had their booster doses. •