Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry answers questions during a press conference, March 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry answers questions during a press conference, March 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito

B.C. hospitalization from COVID-19 declining, 54 in intensive care

153 new cases confirmed Thursday, four additional deaths

B.C. public health officials reported 153 new cases of COVID-19 Thursday, the fifth straight day below 200, and hospitalizations continue to decline with increased vaccination.

There are 176 people in hospital with coronavirus-related conditions, down from 195 on Wednesday, and 49 in intensive care. There were four additional deaths in the 24 hours up to June 10, for a total of 1,729 since the pandemic began.

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said two of the four deaths were in people older than 80, one in their 50s and one in their 60s, reflecting increased risk in older people. That trend is also evident in younger people.

“We’ve had no deaths and very few hospitalizations in school aged children,” Henry said. “Hospitalization is 10 times lower in children than in adults.”

Henry said B.C.’s vaccination clinics are now delivering 325,000 doses per week, using all available weekly vaccine supplies as second-dose appointments continue with high demand. Additional supplies of Moderna vaccine are expected to arrive starting next week.

The B.C. Centre for Disease Control’s latest modelling data show that the key public health measure for infection, the reproduction rate that shows how many people catch the virus from each infected person, is below one and falling in all areas of the province.

Health Minister Adrian Dix said Premier John Horgan will participate in Monday’s briefing, to announce if step two and three of B.C.’s restart plan are going ahead as scheduled. With stable and declining public health indicators, it includes a return to province-wide recreational travel and indoor seated gatherings up to 50 people effective Tuesday, June 15 and an easing of mandatory mask restrictions as soon as July 1.

“I’m confident that we can take this step as long as we increase our contacts in a slow and measured way,” Henry said.

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While overall infection is declining, the variants of concern tracked by public health agencies world wide are now most of the new cases.

The Alpha variant, first identified in Britain, accounts for 54 per cent of B.C. cases in 2021, while the Gamma variant, identified first in Brazil, was found in 42 per cent of the sample infections analyzed in B.C. The Delta variant, from India, has grown to four per cent of cases and has increased in April and May since it was first detected.

Of the 153 new cases, 21 were confirmed in the Vancouver Coastal health region, 73 in Fraser Health, 11 on Vancouver Island, 39 in Interior Health and nine in Northern Health.


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

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