British Columbia appears to have passed the peak of its second wave of COVID-19, fueled by Omicron variants, according to a new report.
The data, released Wednesday by the independent BC COVID-19 modeling group, was based on confirmed cases in people over the age of 70, hospital data and sewage monitoring.
“While the second Omicron wave appears to be peaking at a lower level than the first Omicron wave (BA.1 driven), hospital occupancy and cases are still higher than at any earlier point in the pre-Omicron pandemic” , says the report.
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“In the models, the smaller spikes are due to natural immunity to omicron infection and enhanced immunity from booster vaccinations.”
According to the report, Omicron variant BA.2 currently accounts for 98 percent of cases in the province.
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The report finds that cases among those over 70 have decreased, although not significantly. Age group is used instead of general population because access to PCR testing has been restricted in younger age groups.
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The report says hospital admissions fell in May and are expected to continue falling through June. The model assumes that the number of people hospitalized with COVID-19 will drop below 400 by mid-June.
However, with 596 people hospitalized as of BC’s latest weekly report, hospitalizations continue to significantly exceed the peak recorded in each pre-Omicron wave of 515 on April 28, 2021.
Health Secretary Adrian Dix said the independent group reflected what provincial health officials were seeing.
“We’re seeing stability, I think particularly in terms of hospitalizations, but stability at a relatively high level and we have to move on, people don’t have to keep caring about it,” he said.
“Continue to wear masks in indoor public spaces where you’re seeing people you’ve never seen before because we have highly transmissive variants that are a concern.”
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Wednesday’s report also used serology data from Canadian Blood Services and the COVID-19 Immunity Task Force. It is estimated that the number of actual infections during the Omicron waves is actually about three times the reported cases.
Using the same data, it predicts that to date, about one in four British Columbians has been infected with the Omicron variant.
BC is expected to release its next weekly COVID-19 data on Thursday.
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