The BC government reported two deaths related to COVID-19 on Thursday, and another small increase in the number of test-positive patients in hospital.

The deaths, both of which were reported in the Fraser Health region, put the province’s COVID-19 death toll at 2,998.

The number of coronavirus-positive patients hospitalized across the province inched up to 281, an increase of five from Wednesday, according to the Ministry of Health.

That total includes incidental cases, such as patients who were admitted to hospital for reasons unrelated to COVID-19 but tested positive on routine screening.

BC’s total hospitalization has stabilized after steadily decreasing for weeks, but the number of patients in intensive care is still shrinking. As of Thursday, there are 42 people with COVID-19 in ICU, which is the fewest the province has seen since Aug. 14.

The ministry also announced 249 new cases, which is above the seven-day average of 229 per day. That number only includes infections confirmed through PCR testing, which is not available to most people with coronavirus symptoms.

Earlier on Thursday, Health Minister Adrian Dix said recent wastewater monitoring – another method of tracking transmission – has shown an “overall either flat or slight increase in the amount of COVID-19 present.”

Other jurisdictions, including Ontario, have seen a significant surge in cases recently, fueled by the highly transmissible Omicron subvariant BA.2.

Dix said BC is discussing the possibility of offering second booster doses to vulnerable populations, as part of the province’s strategy for mitigating the impact of a possible sixth wave of COVID-19.

More details are expected to be shared at a news conference Tuesday.

So far, 90.8 per cent of eligible BC residents have had at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine, and 87.3 per cent have had two. Among adults, 59.3 have also had a booster.


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