The regional picture: COVID-19 hospitalizations are down in BC this week, but not everywhere

The number of COVID-19 patients in British Columbia hospitals decreased this week for the first time in more than a month, according to the British Columbia Center for Disease Control’s weekly update on pandemic data.

But while the overall total dropped from 570 last Thursday to 550 this week, two health authorities saw their hospital census increase during the period.

The number of COVID-19 patients who have tested positive at Fraser Health hospitals rose to 229, up from 209 the previous week, according to BCCDC’s COVID-19 Dashboard.

Home Health also saw an increase, from 98 last week to 103 as of Thursday.

Those increases were offset by decreases in BC’s other three regional health authorities. Vancouver Coastal Health saw a total drop from 155 to 128, while Island Health saw a decline from 76 to 67 and Northern Health dropped from 24 to 18.

All of these figures represent the total number of patients hospitalized with COVID-19, regardless of whether the disease was the reason for their hospitalization.

Since the province stopped trying to filter out “incidental” hospitalizations in January, there have been as many as 985 patients in the hospital on a Thursday and as few as 255.

The BCCDC does not regularly release information on the number of COVID-19 patients in specific hospitals, but it does release sub-regional data on where people are testing positive for the disease.

Available data on new COVID-19 infections in BC is limited by the province’s testing strategy. The BCCDC only reports “laboratory-confirmed, laboratory-probable, and epilinked” coronavirus cases. It does not collect or disclose the results of rapid home tests, which are the only testing option available to most BC residents.

Those who receive laboratory PCR tests in BC are those whose care will be altered by a positive result – such as people who are at risk of serious illness and are eligible to receive antiviral drugs.

During the week of April 24-30, the most recent week for which geographic case data has been published, the local health area that includes most of the city of Surrey recorded the highest number of positive tests in the province, with 227.

Other urban centers also recorded a large proportion of the 2,283 total cases confirmed by PCR tests during the week.

The Central Okanagan Local Health Area, which includes Kelowna City, saw 154 new cases, and the Greater Victoria Local Health Area saw 121.

The city of Vancouver is divided into six local health areas, but those areas combined to record 262 new cases from April 24-30.

However, on a per capita basis, the majority of daily positive tests occurred in Haida Gwaii, where only six total cases were recorded, but the region’s small population means the total equates to about 18 new cases per 100,000 residents per day. .

The South Surrey/White Rock Local Health Area had the highest case rate in the Lower Mainland, with 13 new positive tests per 100,000 residents each day.

At Interior Health, Penticton led the way with a daily case rate of 15 per 100,000, though positive tests have dropped in that local health area in recent weeks. The case rate was 23 per 100,000 during the week of April 17-23 and 32 per 100,000 during the previous week.

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