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B.C. COVID-19 hospitalizations dips to one-month low

Number of those in ICU with the disease is lowest since mid-June
COVID test - blue PPE - Getty Morsa
A health-care worker readies to test a patient for COVID-19

Metrics tracking COVID-19 in B.C. have largely been range-bound this summer, and are much lower than they were this spring.

Some good news is that the number of people in hospital with the disease has dipped below 400 for the first time since July 7 – more than a month ago. 

The B.C. government just after 1 p.m. updated its dashboard to show that 398 people (down from 410 a week ago) were infected with the disease and in hospital, while 23 (down from 38 a week ago) were in intensive care units (ICU). That was the lowest number of COVID-19 patients in ICU since June 16, according to B.C. government statistics. 

Later in the afternoon, the government again revised its weekly update to show that only 385 COVID-19 patients are in hospital, while 22 of those are in ICU. 

The possibly incorrect initial update only adds to public doubt about the accuracy of government statistics.

Data for new COVID-19 deaths includes anyone who tested positive for COVID-19 within 30 days and then died – a calculation that could include people who tested positive and then died in car accidents.

Nonetheless, the province's data holds that there were 28 new COVID-19 deaths in the week that ended August 6. That is the same number as last week. 

As has been the case each week since the government shifted to weekly data reporting in April, the provincial total for all deaths from the disease has risen by more than the new weekly total – a phenomenon that casts doubt on the reliability of the information. 

The province's COVID-19 death toll has risen to 3,995, up 55 from one week ago.

Glacier Media has asked the Ministry of Health why the death toll consistently rises more than the number of new deaths but has not received a satisfactory explanation. The ministry's most recent response was that the data "may be incomplete," but there has never been any updates to previously announced weekly death totals. 

In April, Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said that the process for counting deaths was changing and that the new procedure would be to include all deaths that involved people infected with COVID-19 in weekly updates and the overall death toll. She said that the province's Vital Statistics Agency would then determine that some deaths were not due to COVID-19 and that it would remove those deaths from the overall death toll. The death toll's consistent rise in excess of the number of new deaths is the exact opposite of what Henry said would happen. 

The government said today that 900 new infections were detected in the week ended August 6, although its data for new infections has also been widely dismissed. Even Henry, earlier this year, called the data for new cases "not accurate." This is because in December she started telling people who were vaccinated and had mild symptoms to not get tested and to simply self-isolate. She said at the time that this was to increase testing capacity for those with more serious symptoms and those who are more vulnerable.

Given that health officials conducted 15,332 tests, the positive-test rate is 5.87 per cent – the lowest since June. 

The cumulative total of known infections in the province has risen to 380,174. •

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