COVID-19 hospitalizations in B.C. slowly rise

COVID-19 hospitalizations in B.C. slowly rise

369 hospitalizations recorded as of Friday, up by 12.5 per cent compared to last week

Overall COVID-19 hospitalizations and the number of patients in critical care have both increased since the B.C. Centre for Disease Control’s last weekly report, with the latest numbers showing 41 more people in hospital with the disease.

It represents a 12.5 per cent increase over the last update on Nov. 24, which showed 328 people in hospital.

There is one more patient in critical care as of this week, for a total of 38, according to the province’s COVID dashboard. The number is the highest ICU total since June 2, when 41 people were in critical care.

In the week leading up to Nov. 26, 26 new deaths were reported among people who tested positive for the coronavirus within the previous 30 days. That brings the number of deaths potentially linked to the disease to 4,680.

That same week, a total of 604 new cases of COVID-19 were reported by B.C. labs, up 21 per cent from the week before.

However, experts say B.C. under-reports all key COVID metrics, including deaths, and even the BCCDC notes its numbers are subject to revision.

Case totals are believed to be significant underestimates of the true spread of the disease because the BCCDC only counts PCR tests in its report, which are currently inaccessible to the majority of British Columbians.

All the weekly numbers shared by the province are preliminary and are often changed retroactively.

For instance, last week, the province reported 21 deaths and 144 hospital admissions in the week ending on Nov. 19.

Those numbers have now been revised upwards to 29 deaths and 192 admissions, an increase of 38 per cent and 33.3 per cent, respectively.

Wastewater levels increasing

Wastewater testing at five different treatment plants, representing 50 per cent of B.C.’s population, shows viral loads slowly increasing across the board.

The province continues to recommend vaccination, masking in indoor public spaces and staying home while sick to slow the spread of the disease.

While the BCCDC’s weekly reports are usually shared on Thursdays, the report was delayed to Friday due to a “network disruption,” according to the centre.

It comes on the same day that the province released a 150-page report looking at its pandemic response and preparedness.

One of the components in the report was an online public engagement portal that saw 15,000 British Columbians participate, in addition to dozens of other groups and stakeholders.

Though the report notes that the survey was not representative of the broader population, 57 per cent of survey respondents did not agree that the province’s public health information was “clear and easily understood,” and 74 per cent of respondents did not trust COVID-19 information provided by the government.

The report found that trust in government was relatively high throughout the pandemic, up to August 2022 but then began a downward trend. 

“We used the best public health advice available from the public health officials in the province in dealing with the pandemic,” said Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth while answering questions from reporters Friday. “The province did not conduct that survey.”