COVID-19: Cases in BC hospitals remain stable, but admissions are down

After several weeks of significant declines, the number of people with COVID-19 in British Columbia’s hospitals has remained fairly constant over the past week, but admissions appear to be steadily declining.

As of Thursday, there were 273 hospitalized cases, a week-long drop from just three, and 28 cases in the intensive care unit, a week-long increase from nine, according to the BC Center for Disease Control.

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According to BC’s “Census” reporting model, all positive cases are counted, regardless of the reason the patient was hospitalized.

The BCCDC also reported 642 cases for the week ended June 18, although the actual number is likely significantly higher due to restrictions on PCR testing.

Just over 12,200 tests were conducted in the week ended June 18, and the statewide test positivity rate was 7.3 percent. That’s less than a third of the peak of the sixth wave, but still higher than at any time in the pandemic other than around the New Year of 2021 or March-April 2021.

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British Columbia’s weekly data reporting system also includes information on hospital admissions and deaths, although both metrics are not current until June 18 and are usually revised significantly upwards in the following weeks.

For the week ended June 18, the BCCDC reported 156 hospital admissions. For context, last Thursday’s reported number of 189 recordings between June 5 and June 11 has now been revised upwards by 16 percent to 220.

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Admissions appear to be declining, however. Looking at revised data since late April, weekly admissions have almost halved, falling from 434 (April 24-April 30) to 220 (June 5-June 11).

The latest weekly data reports 26 deaths between June 12 and 18, a number that is also preliminary and is expected to be revised upwards. The figure of 60 deaths between June 5 and 11 reported last Thursday has since been revised upwards by 22 percent to 61.

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Additionally, the way the province now tracks deaths, known as “all-cause mortality,” includes all deaths in the reporting period among those who tested positive for COVID-19 in the past 30 days.

Health officials have said this model likely overestimates deaths, but has yet to release promised “retrospective reviews” to “better understand true COVID-19 mortality.”

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