The number of test-positive COVID-19 patients in B.C. hospitals rose back over 300 this week for the first time in about a month.
There were 328 people in hospital with the disease as of Thursday, up from 290 at this time last week.
The number of people in hospital on Thursdays since B.C. switched to a “hospital census” model that includes incidental cases is shown. (CTV)
The current hospital population includes both those with serious cases of COVID-19 requiring hospitalization and those who are hospitalized for other reasons and test positive incidentally.
Health officials estimate that between 50 and 60 per cent of the total in any given week is incidental hospitalizations.
Since the province switched to this “hospital census” method of counting in January, there have been as many as 985 and as few as 255 patients in hospital with COVID-19 on a Thursday.
The latest numbers come as officials blame other respiratory illnesses for a surge in doctor visits and hospitalizations – particularly among children.
On Wednesday, in their first joint news conference since September, provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix provided an update on influenza, COVID-19 and other illnesses in the province.
“For the last couple of months, one of the main causes of respiratory illness across the province has been enteroviruses and rhinoviruses,” Henry said. “Those are ones that we call ‘the common cold.'”
While those viruses, influenza and RSV have all been on the rise in recent weeks, Henry said the province has seen “a levelling off” of COVID-19 infections.
“That’s not what’s causing most of the respiratory illness that we’re seeing right now,” she added.
In the COVID-19 data released Thursday, the B.C. Centre for Disease Control reported 487 new, lab-confirmed cases of the coronavirus during the week of Nov. 6 to 12.
That’s an increase from the total reported during the previous week, but still among the lowest weekly totals the BCCDC has reported since it switched to weekly updates in April.
Notably, however, the official data on COVID-19 transmission only includes results from lab-based PCR tests, and does not count reinfections.
The independent BC COVID-19 Modelling Group has estimated that official case counts are off by roughly 100-fold because they don’t include cases confirmed through at-home rapid antigen tests – the only type of testing available to most British Columbians.
This is a developing story. Check back for updates