A syringe is loaded with COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination clinic run by Vancouver Coastal Health, in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward

A syringe is loaded with COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination clinic run by Vancouver Coastal Health, in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward

B.C. showing decline in COVID cases but hospitalizations remain high: modelling

Decrease in cases began after 4th wave peak in late September

Cases are starting to decrease in B.C., showing that the province may have weathered the fourth wave of the pandemic with a mix of vaccination requirements and regional restrictions.

Modelling released Thursday (Nov. 4) shows that cases went up sharply at the end of July, fluctuated around that higher case rate before reaching a peak at the end of September and slowly decreasing from then onwards to a level not seen since August. However, the decrease in cases has not been without blips, including a slight spike in cases in mid-October.

School-aged children who are too young to be vaccinated saw the biggest pike in cases in late September and early October.

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said that she is concerned that hospitalizations remain “stubbornly high.” Henry said that the “difference is stark” between the vaccinated and those who are not yet immunized.

The continuously high hospitalizations have been “driven by the number of people who have become infected and have not yet been vaccinated.”

In October, unvaccinated people represented 66 per cent of cases, 72 per cent of hospitalizations and 49 per cent of deaths. Henry said that 80 per cent of the total population –including those too young to be vaccinated – are now fully immunized.

“We are seeing unvaccinated young people being hospitalized and sadly are seeing deaths in young people who are not vaccinated,” Henry said adding that the. The vaccinated people who are dying are largely older and with underlying conditions, she noted, adding that this is why third doses and booster shots are being rolled out first in at-risk populations.

“The risk is and continues to be dramatically higher for people who are not vaccinated… this is now a preventable disease.”

Data from October (Oct. 4-31 for cases, Oct. 1-28 for hospitalizations and deaths) show that an unvaccinated individual is 10 times more likely to become infected with COVID, 50 times more likely to become hospitalized and 46 times more likely to die.

Henry said that the province is a “fragile balance” where in current conditions, British Columbians can expect COVID cases and hospitalizations to decrease over the next month.

“If we had not had the protection of immunization… we would have had a much more challenging situation,” she said.

READ MORE: B.C. health experts call on province to use COVID rapid tests alongside other health measures

READ MORE: B.C. nurses who spread COVID misinformation to patients will face penalties


@katslepian

katya.slepian@bpdigital.ca

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