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Cases in B.C. hospitals at 11-week low but admissions rise; COVID-19 still killing about 3 per day

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The number of patients with COVID-19 in B.C. hospitals has fallen again, but the number of weekly admissions with the virus ticked upward for the first time since mid-August, according to data released on Thursday.

According to the B.C. Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC), as of Sept. 22 there were 305 COVID-positive patients in hospital, down nine from last Thursday, with 22 in critical care.

Thursday’s update reported the fewest COVID patients in hospital since June 30.

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B.C.’s hospitalization model counts all cases in hospital, regardless of their reason for admission.

The province-wide test positivity rate as of Sept 17 was 6.7 per cent — the lowest it has been since late March.

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However, weekly tracking for the week ending Sept. 17 showed the number of COVID-positive patients being admitted to hospital climbing for the first time in weeks.

That week saw 155 patients admitted across the province, up from 142 the week prior.

The weekly admission data is preliminary, and is typically revised upward the following week.

The uptick follows for consecutive weeks of declining or flat admissions.

For the period ending Sept. 17, the BCCDC also reported 22 deaths — a figure that is also typically revised upward the following week.

However, the province acknowledges that its model of reporting COVID-19 deaths, which includes anyone who died within 30 days of testing positive, overestimates fatalities.

Subsequent reviews of the underlying cause of death in recently reported COVID-19 fatalities found that about four in 10 of those cases were actually caused by the virus.

According to the latest B.C. COVID-19 Situation Report, there were 1,226 reported COVID deaths between April 2 and Sept. 10.

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Of those reported deaths, reviews found 485 (39.5 per cent) were actually caused by COVID-19, while 642 were not. Another 99 remained under investigation.

Those figures suggest the virus continues to cause about 2.99 deaths per day.

The vast majority of deaths with COVID as the underlying cause (436 of them, or 89.8 per cent) were among people over the age of 70.

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