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B.C. has 44 COVID-19 deaths over long weekend

COVID-19 hospitalizations, and ICU patient counts are the lowest in more than a month.
COVID sign
Signs at businesses aim to prevent COVID-19 from spreading by reminding customers not to enter if they feel sick

B.C.'s COVID-19 death toll has risen to 2,830, following 44 more such deaths in the four days since the last provincial data update. 

Demographics and specific case details of all of those deaths were not provided, although they occurred in all regions of the province.

By health region, there were:
• 11 deaths in Fraser Health;
• 17 deaths in Vancouver Coastal Health;
• seven deaths in Interior Health;
• four deaths in Northern Health; and
• five deaths in Island Health. 

Some good news is that the number of those fighting COVID-19 in hospitals continues to decline. The 688 COVID-19 hospital patients in B.C. is the lowest total since mid-January, just after the province changed the way it counts those patients to include more people. Those deemed no longer infectious, as well as those who caught the disease in hospital while there for another reason are now included in these counts. 

The 108 COVID-19 patients in intensive care units is also the lowest number in more than a month. 

Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry has been stressing that elderly people older than 80, regardless of vaccination status, have shown to have the most frequent incidences of severe infections, with many ending in death.

As a result, it is a concern that there are 31 outbreaks at health-care facilities and seniors' homes. That total is down by two from the last update, on February 18, and it comes after four new outbreaks were discovered in the past four days, while six outbreaks were declared over. 

Provincial data show 4,512.730 eligible B.C. residents older than five years have had at least one dose of vaccine, while 4,282,333 are considered fully vaccinated with two doses. 

There were 45,496 people given booster, or third, doses of vaccine in the past four days, for a total of 2,542,724. 

Statistics Canada data released this month relayed that in the 2021 census, B.C.'s population had increased 7.6 per cent between 2016 and 2021, and that the new total number of residents is 5,000,879.

Glacier Media's calculation therefore is that slightly more than 90.2 per cent of B.C.'s total population has had at least one dose of vaccine, and more than 85.6 per cent of the province's total population has had two doses. More than 50.8 per cent have had their booster doses. 

Between Feb. 11 and Feb. 17, people not fully vaccinated with two doses accounted for 21.4 per cent of cases, according to government data. Between Feb. 4 and Feb. 17, those individuals accounted for 32 per cent of hospitalizations.

Henry has been telling vaccinated people with mild symptoms to self-isolate and not get tested in order to reserve testing capacity for those who have more serious cases or who are clinically vulnerable. As a result, she has called case count data "not accurate," and the province has stopped reporting data for how many people in B.C. they believe are actively infected, and how many are thought to have recovered.

It still reports the number of presumed new cases, and in the past four days officials have confirmed 2,103 new cases. That includes 477 new cases in the past 24 hours.

There are thought to have been at least 345,734 British Columbians who have contracted COVID-19. •