B.C. reports 63 more people in hospital with COVID-19 and 24 more deaths over 3 days

·3 min read
A pedestrian wears a face mask to protect against COVID-19 while walking in downtown Vancouver on Dec. 30, 2021. (Ben Nelms/CBC - image credit)
A pedestrian wears a face mask to protect against COVID-19 while walking in downtown Vancouver on Dec. 30, 2021. (Ben Nelms/CBC - image credit)

B.C. health officials reported 987 people in hospital with COVID-19 on Monday, including 129 in intensive care, as the province recorded 24 more deaths from the disease and 4,997 new cases over the last three days.

The new numbers represent an increase of 63 COVID-19 patients hospitalized within the last 24 hours and a drop of one case in ICU.

Overall hospitalizations, which typically lag behind spikes and dips in new cases, are up by 20 per cent from last Monday, when 819 people were in hospital with the disease.

Due to a data reporting change introduced Jan. 14, month-to-month hospitalization comparisons won't be available again until Feb. 14.

The number of patients in intensive care is up by about 30 per cent from 99 a week ago and by 82 per cent from a month ago when 71 people were in the ICU.

Number of daily new COVID-19 hospitalizations in B.C.

Experts say hospitalizations are a more accurate barometer of the disease's impact, as new case numbers in B.C. are likely much higher than reported, now that the province has hit its testing limit because of the Omicron surge.

As of Thursday, 22.4 per cent of COVID-19 tests in B.C. are coming back positive, according to the province's COVID-19 dashboard.

Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry has said that anything above a five per cent test-positivity rate indicates a concerning level of community transmission.

There are currently 31,822 recorded active cases of people infected with the novel coronavirus in B.C.

The provincial death toll from COVID-19 is now 2,553 lives lost out of 313,076 confirmed cases to date.

There are a total of 64 active outbreaks in assisted living, long-term, and acute care facilities.

Acute care outbreaks include:

  • Surrey Memorial Hospital.

  • Abbotsford Regional Hospital.

  • Langley Memorial Hospital.

  • Burnaby Hospital.

  • Peace Arch Hospital.

  • Kelowna General Hospital.

  • Royal Jubilee Hospital.

As of Monday, 89.6 per cent of those five and older in B.C. had received their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine and 83.6 per cent a second dose.

From January 14 to 20, people who were not fully vaccinated accounted for 28.5 per cent of cases and from January 7 to 20, they accounted for 30.6 per cent of hospitalizations, according to the province.

A total of 1.8 million people have received a booster shot to date.

SFU students protest return to class

More than 4,000 students have signed an online petition asking for distance education to continue at Simon Fraser University for at least one more semester so they can avoid travelling to campus while the highly-transmissible Omicron variant continues to circulate.

"Students feel helpless knowing that they need to graduate but also not wanting to get or spread the disease," reads the petition. "Not giving a student a chance to choose taking classes in person or distant is not ethical."

SFU students took part in a planned walkout Monday on their first day back to school to protest the return to in-person learning.

The signatories are asking not only for remote learning to continue for one more semester, but for hybrid learning to become a permanent option.

SFU Student Society president Gabe Liosis said in addition to remote and hybrid learning, SFU students are also asking for free or highly subsidized N95 masks and extended tuition deadlines.

The University of British Columbia has taken another route, pushing its return to classes until at least early February.

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