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B.C. COVID-19 hospitalizations fall by almost two-thirds in past month

Eight more COVID-19 deaths raise B.C.'s pandemic death toll to 2,974.
Surrey hospital emergency - cc
Surrey Memorial Hospital's emergency ward was not that busy earlier this month

Serious COVID-19 infections continue to wane in B.C., with 271 people now in the province's hospitals and known to be infected with the disease. 

That count is down by 19 from Friday, and it is the 29th consecutive time that a government data update has provided a lower number for COVID-19 hospitalizations. 

One month ago, the government said that B.C. had 733 COVID-19 patients in hospitals.

Of those now in hospital fighting the disease, 49 are sick enough to need treatment in intensive care units (ICUs), which is three more than on Friday. 

Another eight people died from the disease in the past three days, raising B.C.'s pandemic death toll to 2,974. The ages for those who died was not immediately released, but the deaths included: 
• four in the Fraser Health region;
• one in the Vancouver Coastal Health region;
• one in the Northern Health region; and
• two in the Island Health region.

Some good news is that B.C. health officials in the past day detected the fewest new infections in a 24-hour period – 136 – since  July 26, almost eight months ago. That is in part, however, because so few tests are now being done. Officials conducted 2,918 tests in the past day, which translates into a 4.66% positive-test rate. That rate was around 4% on Friday.

Officials also detected 170 new infections yesterday, and 200 on March 19.

Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry, however, has told vaccinated people with mild symptoms to not get tested so as to free up tests for those who are more vulnerable. As a result she has called the daily case counts "not accurate." 

The B.C. government on Feb. 10 stopped providing data for active infections, and the number of those considered to have recovered from COVID-19 for that very reason. 

It does, however, still provide data for new known infections, and the cumulative total for infections is now 354,084.

One new outbreak at a health-care facility is at Selkirk Seniors Village in Victoria, raising the number of known active outbreaks to eight. 

Vaccinations help limit the spread of the disease that spawned a global pandemic, and the vast majority of British Columbians are already vaccinated.

In total, 4,525,281 eligible B.C. residents have had at least one dose of vaccine, while 4,338,756 are considered fully vaccinated with two doses, and 2,644,222 have had three doses.

Recent Statistics Canada 2021 census data counted 5,000,879 residents in B.C.

Glacier Media's calculation therefore is that nearly 90.5 per cent of B.C.'s total population has had at least one dose of vaccine, and nearly 86.8 per cent of the province's total population has had two doses. Nearly 52.9 per cent have had their booster doses. •