BA.5 Omicron variant drives increase in B.C. hospitalizations, as residents urged to get boosted

·2 min read
A man eats ice cream during a period of hot weather in downtown Vancouver, British Columbia on Tuesday, July 5, 2022.  (Ben Nelms/CBC - image credit)
A man eats ice cream during a period of hot weather in downtown Vancouver, British Columbia on Tuesday, July 5, 2022. (Ben Nelms/CBC - image credit)

COVID-19 hospitalizations in B.C. are up 15 per cent from last week, according to the B.C. Centre for Disease Control's latest data on the pandemic shared by provincial health authorities on Thursday.

A total of 427 British Columbians are in hospital with the virus, an increase of 57 from last week, with 34 people in critical care, a decrease of two.

The B.C. COVID-19 dashboard is reporting 22 more deaths since last week and 973 new cases, which the province says is an underestimation of the actual number of people with COVID in B.C. due to the limited availability of lab testing,

The latest numbers released by the provincial government encompass the week ending July 9.

B.C. says the weekly numbers are preliminary and are retroactively adjusted due to delays in the count and the new way in which it measures weekly cases, hospitalizations and deaths.

Health officials are recommending eligible British Columbians who have not yet done so get their third shot to protect against the current variant but are encouraging British Columbians 12 years and older to get their second booster shots in the fall, the season when respiratory viruses are at their peak.

Until now, people 70 and older, those who are seriously immunocompromised and Indigenous people 55 years and older have been the only ones eligible for second boosters.

Justine Boulin/CBC
Justine Boulin/CBC

Some provinces are already expanding eligibility for fourth doses to all adults, but B.C. has yet to follow suit.

Vaccine registration opens for young children

Health Minister Adrian Dix is encouraging parents to register their children for vaccination after Health Canada approved COVID-19 vaccines for children aged six months to five years.

Acting provincial health officer Dr. Martin Lavoie says the vaccines are safe and have helped the province weather the pandemic. While most children infected with COVID-19 have mild symptoms, he says some can get very sick.

There are about 208,000 eligible babies and children in B.C. in that age category and parents are invited to book an appointment beginning Aug. 2.

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