B.C. passed the 500 mark for people in hospital with COVID-19 Thursday, as new daily infections continued to run at about 1,000 a day.
B.C. recorded 1,006 cases Thursday, with 502 people in hospital, 161 in intensive care and four deaths in the past 24 hours. The latest of a series of daily records for hospitalization is “alarming,” provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said, pleading with people to limit their travel and get vaccinated when they can to reduce the pressure on hospitals.
Health Minister Adrian Dix announced delays to scheduled surgeries in nine Lower Mainland hospitals, to allow surge capacity for COVID-19 cases and to allow surgical teams to spell off intensive care staff who are “exhausted” after 13 months of dealing with severely ill people who need respirators and other measures.
Henry said the acceleration of the age-based vaccination program is continuing, with people aged 60 and older being invited to book shots by the end of the day Thursday. Starting Friday, April 23, anyone aged 18 and over can register for age-based vaccination clinics around the province.
Registering everyone is important, even if they are receiving vaccine from a pharmacy or one of the new clinics in identified hotspots around the province, so the public health system can schedule first and second doses, Henry said.
“All of the vaccine data is entered into the system, even from pharmacies, although sometimes there is a bit of a delay before that gets into our provincial immunization registry, so we know when you got it and when you are due for your second dose,” Henry said.
Of the new cases April 22, there were 241 in the Vancouver Coastal Health region, 600 in Fraser Health, 37 on Vancouver Island, 83 in the Interior Health region and 42 in Northern Health, plus three new positive tests in people who live outside of Canada.
B.C. health authorities reported 1,027 new cases on Saturday, 933 Sunday, 1,000 on Monday, 849 on Tuesday and 862 on Wednesday, adding up to a slow decrease in the seven-day rolling average after it reached record highs last week.