The latest data from the B.C. Centre for Disease Control reveals a significant increase in the number of COVID-positive patients housed in the province’s hospitals over the past month, more than tripling from a two-year low at the start of August. The figures, announced on Thursday, cited 241 confirmed COVID-19 cases compared to only 76 a month earlier. This record number is the highest since May 4 when 268 individuals were reported being hospitalized due to COVID-19.
The B.C. Centre for Disease Control also revealed that as of 2023, the number of COVID-19 cases in the province had sharply increased. Furthermore, this update arrives following the discovery of the BA.2.86 variant in the province, recognized as the first local case in Canada. Dr. Isaac Bogoch, an infectious disease expert based in Toronto, referred to the genetic abnormalities found in this variant as noteworthy during his interview with CTVNews.ca.
In addition to these revelations, the data showed a concerning increase in concentrations of SARS-CoV-2 in B.C. wastewater. Despite this, the BCCDC’s notes reassured that no further samples of the BA.2.86 variant had been detected in the province’s genome sequencing. On the contrary, most of the recent infections are linked to either the EG.5 or XBB.1.16 variants. However, it’s worth mentioning that all these variants stemmed from the Omicron variant, which emerged as the leading strain in late 2021.
Currently, with 241 individuals hospitalized due to COVID-19, this is the highest number of cases the province has dealt with in months. However, when compared with figures from 2022, it is still a substantially lesser number. Importantly, such figures comprise all the COVID-19 test-positive cases reported, regardless of whether COVID-19 was the cause of their hospitalization. Hence, 50 to 60 percent of the total number may reflect incidental positive results rather than serious cases of the virus.
Nevertheless, the BCCDC admits that its methodology for counting hospitalizations, particularly weekly hospital admissions, is more of a rapid surveillance approach rather than a comprehensive study of the virus’s impact on B.C.’s healthcare system.
In fact, data released by the Canadian Institute for Health Information last month depicted an alarming discrepancy in hospitalizations compared to BCCDC’s reported figures from April 2022 to April 2023. However, both agencies maintained that the methodologies employed were fundamentally different and therefore, not directly comparable, hence validating each other’s reported figures.