British Columbia health officials on Tuesday reported 652 new COVID-19 cases — including 82 in Island Health — as well as two new deaths since their last update on Sept. 27.
Two of the deaths recorded over the past 24 hours were in Island Health, bringing the region’s death toll to 65.
The number of confirmed cases in B.C. is now at 184,780 while the provincial death toll climbs to 1,942.
Currently, there are 5,992 active cases and 316 people in hospital — 141 of whom are in intensive care province-wide.
A total of 177,113 people in B.C. have recovered from COVID-19 while 7,812,228 doses of vaccine have been administered province-wide.
Today’s data was released as a statement to the media.
With the announcement of two more deaths in Island Health, the region has now recorded 17 deaths since the beginning of the month and 23 deaths since Aug. 17, which was the first time since May that death had been reported in the region.
According to the latest update from Island Health’s dashboard, there are 577 active cases — 43 in North Island, 235 in Central Island, and 299 in South Island — currently on Vancouver Island.
There are 677 active cases, 35 people in hospital, 15 of whom are in critical care or ICU in the Island Health region.
Since the pandemic began, there have been 8,475 cases reported, 65 deaths, 387 total hospitalizations, and 7,658 recoveries recorded on Vancouver Island.
Editor’s note: The BCCDC lists the active case count for Vancouver Island at 677, which is 100 more active cases than what Island Health has reported. There are often discrepancies between the figures due to “differences in reporting” timeframes between the two agencies.
Henry addresses questions about COVID-19 hospitalization data
During a press conference Tuesday, the province's top doctor addressed concerns that have been raised over the past few weeks about how officials are reporting certain COVID-19 data.
Dr. Bonnie Henry, the provincial health officer, said the province reports all active cases and that when somebody is diagnosed with COVID-19 they are considered active cases for 10 days because "they are no longer infectious" after 10 days.
Questions have particularly been raised about the way B.C. reports hospitalization data following media reports that hospitalizations are actually higher than what has been reported.
Henry explained Tuesday that although some hospitalized individuals have "recovered from their acute illness" and may need further hospitalization, they aren't counted as hospitalized with COVID-19 because they have survived beyond their 10-day infectious period.
"When somebody has recovered from their acute illness, their active infection with COVID-19, some people still need ongoing hospital care. So, they are really, what we call, recovered in hospital," explained Henry. "They are no longer one of our active cases, so they are no longer reported in our active surveillance reports as somebody who is hospitalized or needing ICU care, but they have already been in those statistics."
Henry justified the reason for doing is this because it helps officials "understand the picture" of how many people and what percentage of people in different age groups with different underlying conditions need hospitalization or critical care.
"If someone comes into the hospital with COVID, the records show them as a person with COVID ... and it is a metric that we follow over time even though it is not on the acute illness and the weekly surveillance reports," she said.
However, the province will begin providing data on individuals requiring hospitalization or recovering in hospital over a longer period of time due to COVID-19, said Henry.
"There are somewhere around 140 people over the last little while that are recovering in hospital after their acute illness," she said. "They are no longer an active case, the vast majority of them are in a medical bed, so they are somebody who is not in an ICU bed."