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COVID-19 hospitalizations keep falling in B.C.

Province records 11 more COVID-19 deaths in past day.
COVID mask outside - chung chow
Some people wear face masks to protect against COVID-19 even when outside

The number of COVID-19 patients in B.C. hospitals has fallen in the seventh consecutive data update from government, to 762, with 108 of those people admitted in the past day.

This is the lowest count since Jan. 14, which was the day after the province changed how it counted COVID-19 patients, and started to include incidental cases. Those infections are in people who went to hospital for a different reason than COVID-19, and then tested positive for the disease while in hospital – often when asymptomatic.

Of those now in hospital, 121 have serious enough infections to be in intensive care units – three fewer than yesterday. 

Sadly, the province announced that 11 more people have died from COVID-19 in the past day, raising the province's pandemic death toll to 2,777.

Testing for COVID-19 in B.C. topped out above 21,000 per day around Christmas, but has fallen sharply to around 7,500. The 7,562 tests conducted in the past 24 hours translates into a 9.9% positive-test rate, as 750 new infections were detected.

Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry has been telling vaccinated people with mild symptoms to self-isolate and not get tested in order to reserve testing capacity for those who have more serious cases or who are clinically vulnerable. As a result, she called case count data "not accurate," and the province has stopped reporting data for how many people in B.C. they believe are actively infected. 

Some good news is that the number of outbreaks at health-care facilities and seniors' homes has fallen by three, to 36, because of no new outbreaks, and three outbreaks newly declared over, at:
• Queen's Park Care Centre in New Westminster;
• Arrowsmith Lodge in Parksville; and
• Woodgrove Manor in Nanaimo. 

Provincial data show 4,507,718 eligible B.C. residents older than five years have had at least one dose of vaccine, while 4,256,399 are considered fully vaccinated with two doses. 

There were 13,721 people given booster, or third, doses of vaccine in the past day, for a total of 2,468,653. 

Exactly how many people live in B.C. is a matter of debate. The most updated BC Stats data, from mid-2021, estimated that there are 5,214,805 people in the province. Statistics Canada data released last week relayed that in the 2021 census, B.C.'s population had increased 7.6 per cent between 2016 and 2021, and that the new total number of residents is 5,000,879.

If Statistics Canada's census data is used, Glacier Media's calculation is that slightly more than 90.1 per cent of B.C.'s total population has had at least one dose of vaccine, and more than 85.1 per cent of the province's total population has had two doses. Nearly 49.4 per cent have had their booster doses. 

Between Feb. 8 and Feb. 14, people not fully vaccinated accounted for 22.8 per cent of cases, according to government data. Between Feb. 1 and Feb. 10, those individuals accounted for 32.1 per cent of hospitalizations. •