COVID-19 in British Columbia: Hospitalizations increase 35% in four days

The number of COVID-19 patients in British Columbia hospitals has increased by 35% in the past four days, the government revealed in the first comprehensive update on the pandemic since New Years Eve.

The number of hospitalized COVID-19 patients rose to 298, including 86 intensive care patients, the health ministry said on Tuesday.

This is against 220 hospitalizations Friday, with 73 patients in intensive care.

The majority of recent COVID-19 patients have not been vaccinated, according to the province, although this group constitutes a shrinking minority of British Columbia’s population. The unvaccinated accounted for 53.3% of hospitalizations between December 16 and 29, while the partially vaccinated and fully vaccinated represented 1.7% and 45% respectively.

“A lot of people will get sick and we are seeing it now,” Provincial health worker Bonnie Henry said at a press conference on Tuesday. “But your vaccine will protect most people from serious illness and hospitalization.”

Just over 88 percent of eligible B.C. residents aged five and over have received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine, and 83 percent have received two. Almost 21 percent of people 12 and older received a booster dose.

Less than 15% of British Columbia’s population is still unvaccinated, including babies, toddlers and children who still don’t qualify.

The province also announced 2,542 confirmed cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday. The number of daily cases is believed to be severely underreported due to limits in testing capacity, but Tuesday’s update was still high enough to push British Columbia’s seven-day average to a new high history of 3,285 cases per day.

There have also been four coronavirus-related deaths recorded since December 31, bringing the death toll in the province to 2,427.

This is a developing story and will be updated.

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