The number of COVID-19 positive patients in British Columbia hospitals has dropped significantly this week and, for the first time in months, every regional health authority has also seen its hospital count drop.
There were 96 fewer patients hospitalized with the coronavirus on Thursday compared to the previous week, according to the BC Center for Disease Control. And nearly half of that decline has occurred in the Fraser Health Region.
The graph shows the number of patients who tested positive for COVID-19 in hospitals in each of British Columbia’s regional health authorities on Thursdays since mid-April. (CTV)
Fraser Health saw its hospital count drop by 45, from 176 last week to 131 this week. It is the only regional health authority with more than 100 patients who tested positive still in hospital.
Vancouver Coastal Health’s total patient count fell by 20 (from 102 to 82) and Island Health’s fell by 19 (from 76 to 57).
Interior Health saw the smallest drop, with six fewer patients this week (46) than last (52), while Northern Health saw seven fewer patients, bringing its total down to just four.
Regional totals do not add up to the overall total of 325 because COVID-19 patients at Provincial Health Services Authority facilities are not reported by region on the BCCDC’s COVID-19 dashboard. The regional totals stand at 320, implying there were five COVID-19 patients at PHSA facilities on Thursday.
B.C. hospitalization figures include both people admitted to hospital with serious illness from COVID-19 and those hospitalized for other reasons who test positive by chance .
Since the province began counting hospitalizations this way — rather than trying to sort and report only those hospitalizations that were actually caused by COVID-19 — there have been as many as 985 patients hospitalized on a Thursday, throughout the province, and as few as 255.
The new hospitalization numbers reported Thursday come with a drop in lab-confirmed coronavirus cases, as well as a drop in concentrations of the virus in Lower Mainland sewage.
While the vast majority of COVID-19 infections in British Columbia are no longer reflected in official numbers reported weekly due to a lack of testing, the BCCDC is still reporting the locations of positive PCR tests it is tracking.
A map of cases recorded in the province during the week of May 29 to June 4 shows the highest number of infections concentrated – predictably – in large population centers.
The local health zone that includes most of the city of Surrey has had the highest number of cases, with 79. The city of Vancouver is divided into six different local health zones, but adding up their caseloads shows that there were 120 cases in that city during the week in question.
Elsewhere, the local Greater Victoria Health Zone recorded 41 new cases and the Central Okanagan region, which includes the city of Kelowna, recorded 30.
Those numbers reflect people who meet the province’s current guidelines for COVID-19 lab testing and have had their tests come back positive.
Laboratory tests are currently available in British Columbia for people who have symptoms and are currently hospitalized, pregnant, at risk of more serious illness and eligible for treatment, or who live or work in environments with other people at high risk of serious illness.
Between May 29 and June 4, the highest concentrations of positive tests among people who meet these criteria were found not in the largest cities of British Columbia, but in sparsely populated areas where only a few cases equates to a high infection rate per capita.
The local health zone of Keremeos led the way in this regard, with a daily case rate of 15 new laboratory-confirmed infections per 100,000 inhabitants during the week in question. West Vancouver Island had the second highest rate, at 14 per 100,000. No other local health zone had more than nine new daily cases per 100,000 population.