The number of patients in intensive care with COVID-19 has dipped below 20 as a downward trend in hospitalizations continues, according to the latest data from the province.
As of Wednesday, 276 people with COVID are in hospital, including 19 in intensive care, according to the B.C. COVID-19 dashboard.
That's a decrease in overall hospitalizations of around 15 per cent from last Thursday, when the province reported 325 people in hospital. The number of ICU patients is less than half of what it was two weeks ago, when the province had 41 people with COVID in intensive care.
The government says its weekly numbers are preliminary. It has been retroactively adjusting them due to delays in the count and the new way it measures weekly cases, hospitalizations and deaths.
The numbers released Thursday are part of a relatively recent change in approach from B.C. health officials, both in the move to weekly reporting and in how certain metrics are calculated.
Much of the data from the province is in a weekly report from the B.C. Centre for Disease Control, which includes cases, hospital admissions and deaths — although all of those numbers are at least five days old.
The province is reporting 50 deaths between June 5 and 11. That number, which is being reported differently than in the past, includes the death of anyone who tested positive for COVID-19 within the last 30 days, whether or not the disease has been confirmed as a contributing factor in their death.
The number of deaths is also likely to change significantly by next week.
During the last reporting period, the province said that 43 people had died between May 29 and June 4. That number now stands at 57, an increase of nearly a third.
This week's BCCDC report shows 726 new cases of COVID-19 were recorded between June 5 and 11, a decrease of about 19 per cent from the 895 reported the week before. The latest numbers, which are based solely on lab-reported results, bring the total number of reported cases to 373,336.
Due to the limited availability of lab testing, the province says the case count underestimates the actual number of people with COVID-19 in B.C. The results of at-home rapid tests are not included in the weekly numbers.
Positivity rates decreased or remained stable in all health authorities from May 29 to June 4, according to the B.C. Centre for Disease Control's COVID-19 Situation Report, ranging from 7.7 per cent in Northern Health to 18.8 per cent in Island Health.
Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry has said anything above a five per cent test-positivity rate indicates a more worrying level of transmission.
Data shows a decline in viral loads in four of five Metro Vancouver wastewater plants.
Viral loads at Annacis Island are half what they were seven weeks ago while Northwest Langley has seen a decline of 81 per cent over six weeks. Loads at Iona Island have fallen 47 per cent over the past two weeks, while Lions Gate has experienced a 54 per cent drop over the past four weeks.