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B.C. COVID hospitalizations down, ‘second Omicron wave’ may have peaked

540 British Columbians are in hospital with 49 in ICU, down from 596 and 54 last week
Specimens to be tested for COVID-19 are seen at LifeLabs after being logged upon receipt at the company’s lab in Surrey, B.C., on March 26, 2020. A COVID-19 outbreak at the South Terrace Continuing Care Centre in Edmonton has seen 66 residents contract the infection. Ten have died. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

The latest data from the B.C. Centre for Disease Control shows there are 540 people currently in hospital with COVID-19 and 49 in ICU.

Though this is still higher than B.C.’s hospitalization pre-Omicron, it represents a decrease from the 596 people in hospital and 54 in ICU last week. B.C. collects hospitalization data on a “census” basis, meaning that it counts everyone in hospital with a COVID infection regardless of their reason for being in the hospital.

READ MORE: B.C. COVID hospitalizations climb to 596 for the first time in months

From May 8 to May 14, 59 people died within 30 days of a positive COVID-19 test. The BCCDC’s weekly reports now show 30-day all-cause mortality for COVID-19 deaths. Last week, the BCCDC reported 59 deaths between May 1 and May — that number has now been revised to 84.

The BCCDC is reporting 1,645 new cases of COVID-19 from May 8 to May 14, down from 1,985 the week before. However, only PCR confirmed infections are recorded in BCCDC data. Many British Columbians are unable to get PCR tests due to B.C.’s testing strategy. Positive rapid antigen tests are not reflected in the data.

‘Second Omicron wave’ may have peaked, modelling group says

Projections from the B.C. COVID-19 Modelling Group — a group of experts in epidemiology, mathematics and infectious diseases from leading B.C. universities — show that the ‘second Omicron wave’ driven by the BA.2 sublineage may have peaked in B.C.

“Reported cases, cases among those aged 70+, hospitalization data, and most wastewater sites together suggest COVID-19 infections are declining in B.C.,” the report states.

Unlike previous waves, the modelling group said declining cases are being driven by population immunity through infection and vaccination rather than interventions like masking, social distancing or capacity limits on events and gatherings.

The unpredictability of future variants still needs to be taken into account. Public health officials, like Dr. Bonnie Henry, have warned that B.C. could see a resurgence of COVID infections in the fall.

READ MORE: ‘It’s really distressing’: Extensive long COVID symptoms linger, 2 years after infection


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