As B.C. enters its third summer since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic in early 2020, infections continue to fall, as they typically do during the summer months.
While COVID-19 case counts are down across Canada, public health officials are concerned there could be a spike in certain Omicron variant infections, such as the BA.4 and BA.5, entering the fall flu season.
Canada’s chief public health officer is therefore urging all Canadians to get a third vaccine, as two doses offer less protection against Omicron strains.
In its weekly update, for the period of June 19 to 25, the BC Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC) reports that there were 620 new cases of COVID-19 in B.C., 169 hospital admissions, and 17 deaths.
That’s down from 642 new cases, 273 hospitalizations and 32 deaths for the previous reporting period of June 12 to 18, and down from 62 deaths reported for the week of June 5 to 11.
Since switching to weekly reporting, the BCDC now provides COVID-19 data from the previous week.
The BCCDC's dashboard, which provides slightly more up-to-date information on hospitalizations, reports that there were 273 people in B.C. hospitals who are COVID-19 positive as of June 30, and 28 in critical care.
Hospitalization and death statistics are not necessarily an accurate reflection of illness and death caused specifically by the COVID-19 virus. Not all people admitted to hospital with COVID-19 are there because of COVID-19. Hospital data includes all people who test positive for COVID-19, even if they are admitted to hospital for other reasons, the BCCDC notes.
“Therefore, reported hospitalizations overestimate the true number of people who are hospitalized specifically due to COVID-19 infection,” the BCCDC says.
The BCCDC also initially reports all deaths where the patient tested positive for the virus within 30 dies prior to death. So even if someone tests positive, and later dies in a car crash or from a drug overdose, it is initially counted in the COVID-19 death statistics. This is why the BCCDC now reports COVID-19 deaths as “all-cause mortality.”
The B.C. government's process is to include all COVID-19 positive deaths initially, and then have its Vital Statistics Agency determine which deaths were not COVID-19-related, and then remove them from the total.
Testing reveals that more 99% of positive test cases in B.C. were for the Omicron variant. Last week, B.C. public health officer Bonnie Henry told CBC that 1.2 million eligible British Columbians have not received their third booster shot.