Another 59 people died in BC last week after testing positive for COVID-19, while the number of patients hospitalized with the disease appears to have fallen, according to the province’s latest reports on the pandemic.

According to information, 540 people with the novel corona virus were in the hospital by Thursday, 49 of them in intensive care the BC COVID-19 dashboard.

That’s a nine percent drop in overall hospitalizations from last Thursday, when the province reported 596 people in hospital. The number of patients in intensive care has also fallen by about nine percent from 54 a week ago.

However, all figures provided by the province are preliminary and it is difficult to draw firm conclusions about trends. Under BC’s current system for reporting COVID-19 data, figures released for a given week are adjusted retrospectively and often change significantly by the time the next reports are released.

The figures released Thursday are part of a relatively new approach by BC health officials, both in the move to weekly reporting and in the calculation of certain metrics.

Much of the data from the province has arrived a weekly report from the BC Center for Disease Controlwhich includes cases, hospitalizations and deaths – although all of these figures are at least five days old.

Between May 8 and May 14, the province reports 59 deaths. However, this number is reported in a very different way than in the past, marking all deaths among all people who have tested positive for COVID-19 within the last 30 days, regardless of whether the disease has been confirmed as a contributing factor or not.

Not only does that mean it’s impossible to say how many of those 59 deaths were actually caused by COVID-19, it also means that people who died from the disease more than 30 days after testing positive can benefit from that data be excluded.

The number of deaths recorded between May 8th and 14th is also likely to change significantly by next week.

Last week, the BCCDC weekly report indicated that 59 people died between May 1st and 7th. The latest report says 84 people died during that period — an increase of 42 percent.

This week’s BCCDC report includes 1,645 new cases of COVID-19 reported between May 8 and May 14, based solely on lab results, for a total of 369,202 cases so far.

That’s down about 17 percent from the previous week’s 1,985, according to the province’s retrospectively adjusted data.

However, with PCR testing now fairly limited, weekly case counts are believed to underestimate the true number of people with COVID-19 in BC

Severe consequences more common in unvaccinated people

Test positivity rates have fallen slightly, reaching 9.7 percent across the province on May 14, compared to 10.6 percent the previous week. Positivity rates range from 16.4 percent on Vancouver Island to 7.1 percent in the Vancouver Coastal Health region, according to the dashboard.

said the province’s health officer, Dr. Bonnie Henry anything above a five percent test positivity rate is an indicator of a more worrying level of transmission.

A total of 334 people were hospitalized with COVID-19 between May 8 and 14, according to preliminary figures from the BCCDC.

That BCCDC’s regional monitoring dashboard shows that unvaccinated people were about twice as likely to end up in hospital with COVID-19 in the last month as those who received three doses, were three times more likely to need critical care, and were about 29 percent more likely to die.

Meanwhile, wastewater tests at five different treatment plants, representing 50 percent of BC’s population, show viral loads increased at three test sites on May 14 and decreased at the remaining two the weekly status report of the BCCDC.

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