COVID-19 hospitalizations in British Columbia at their lowest since August

Of 185 COVID-19 patients in British Columbia hospitals, 72 are in intensive care units.

COVID-19 hospitalizations in British Columbia have been declining for more than a month and fell to 185 on December 13 – the lowest level since August 30 and the first time below the 200 threshold since 2 September.

Of these, 72 COVID-19 patients remain in intensive care units (ICUs), according to British Columbia government statistics.

Five people have lost their lives to the disease in the past three days. This brings the number of deaths from the pandemic in British Columbia to 2,386.

Of the 223,142 people known to have contracted the disease, 217,705 have recovered.

The BC government generally considers COVID-19 patients to have recovered if they have passed 10 days after the first symptoms, as they are therefore deemed to be no longer infectious. Some patients, however, continue to have health problems for months after their recovery.

Despite the steady decline in the number of COVID-19 patients in British Columbia hospitals, Health Minister Adrian Dix last week stressed that hospitals in the province were “extremely busy.”

A total of 9,806 of British Columbia’s 12,310 hospital beds were full at the time, he said.

The province has 11,582 beds in what it calls “acute care”, which includes the needs of most patients. Of those, 9,330 beds are filled, Dix said last week.

Another 728 British Columbia hospital beds are in intensive care units and are intended for patients with more serious illnesses or in need of special attention. These beds include 510 that existed before the pandemic and do not need additional human resources. Another 218 intensive care beds were added during the pandemic, are intended for emergencies and are called “surge” beds.

To make room in intensive care units for potential future patients in areas, such as the Northern Health Region, where intensive care unit occupancy is at or near full capacity, 150 people were transported by plane to the Lower Mainland and Vancouver Island last week, Dix said. Of these, 117 had COVID-19, the vast majority of them not having been vaccinated, he added.

Full data for December 13 has yet to be released. The province’s COVID-19 dashboard, however, notes that health officials have detected 349 new infections in the past 24 hours. It is not known how many new cases were discovered this weekend.

More soon …

Carol N. Valencia