The number of people in hospital with COVID-19 continues to climb in B.C.
There are 426 people currently in hospital with the virus, up 15 per cent from last week when 369 people were in hospital. There are currently 34 people in critical care, down by two from last week.
B.C. records COVID hospitalizations through census counts. That means not everyone in hospital who tests positive for COVID is there because of the virus.
This is the third consecutive week where hospitalizations have not declined.
PCR confirmed cases are also on the rise. The latest weekly report from the BCCDC shows there were 973 cases from July 3 to 9, up from 765 the week before. A majority of British Columbians rely on rapid antigen tests to determine whether they have a COVID infection. Rapid antigen test results are not included in provincial statistics.
From July 3 to 9, 22 people died after testing positive for COVID-19. Deaths are recorded on the basis of 30-day all-cause mortality, meaning anyone who dies within 30 days of a positive COVID-19 test is considered to have died from the virus. Statistics are regularly revised upward. For example, the BCCDC originally reported 24 deaths for the week of June 26 to July 2, but that number has been revised to 34 in the latest report.
The B.C. COVID-19 Modelling Group, an independent collective of experts tracking the pandemic, released a report on July 13 that indicates case counts and hospital admissions will continue to rise. The rise in infections is being driven by the BA.5 Omicron variant, a highly infectious strain of COVID-19 that has demonstrated the ability to evade immunity. The group predicts that B.C. is now in a “third Omicron wave” that will likely peak in August.
On July 7, the province announced that it would be rolling out fourth vaccine doses for everyone aged 12 and up in September. There are 1.3 million British Columbians who still have not received their third dose of vaccine. Although the province is recommending people receive their fourth dose in the fall, people who would like a fourth dose sooner can call 1-833-838-2323 to book an appointment.