COVID-19 case counts in the B.C. remain in the hundreds over this weekend, and researchers are warning the pandemic in the province, is far from over.
“We are predicting doubling of cases every week if we do not bend down this curve,” said Dr. Sally Otto, a COVID-19 modeller at UBC.
A group of independent modelers says while we are seeing hot spots in certain areas like the central Okanagan, where the province implemented new restrictions and a mask mandate, the threat is province-wide.
The group says all health authorities are showing a steady climb in cases, and that means the province could soon see case counts in the thousands.
“Delta transmits more. If you’re unvaccinated, do not count on those who are vaccinated around you,” said Dr. Otto. “Even vaccinated individuals can get infected, and transmit it and not even know it.”
The researchers are concerned about regions in the province where there are low vaccination rates like Vernon and Nelson. They’re also pointing to another concerning indicator: hospitalizations, which many modelers thought would decline because of high vaccination rates.
Instead, the Delta variant is keeping hospitalizations steady.
“We’ve been hopeful here in B.C. that we would not see that many hospitalizations as cases numbers rose. But looking at the data, crunching the numbers, the number of people landing in hospitals relative to the number of cases is relatively constant over this whole year,” said Dr. Otto.
Sixty-eight people are currently in hospital across British Columbia — a 50 per cent increase since July 21 but only a three per cent increase since early July — with only one person in hospital on Vancouver Island, a figure that has remained the same for more than a week.
However, there’s normally a lag between rising COVID case counts and hospitalizations, and researchers are predicting we’ll start to see hospitalizations spike in the coming days.
B.C.’s top doctor today though, seemed unphased.
“What we’re not seeing is increased rates of hospitalization with the recent surge of cases we’re seeing,” said Dr. Bonnie Henry, provincial health officer. “We’re not seeing younger people hospitalized at a higher rate.”
To reduce the growth of cases the group is encouraging the use of masks in any indoor setting, and for everyone to get fully vaccinated.