Medical personnel wear protective gear to wheel a patient into St. Paul’s Hospital in Vancouver, B.C. on Wednesday, Dec. 2, 2020. B.C. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Marissa Tiel

Medical personnel wear protective gear to wheel a patient into St. Paul’s Hospital in Vancouver, B.C. on Wednesday, Dec. 2, 2020. B.C. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Marissa Tiel

COVID patients hospitalized with variants of concern more likely to end up in ICU

Among patients with variants of concern, 30 per cent of people end up in the ICU

People who are hospitalized with a variant of concern are more likely to end up in the ICU, provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said.

“International data suggests that (U.K. variant) B.1.1.7 could be connected to worse outcomes,” she said during a press conference Thursday (March 25).

Overall, about 19 per cent of people under the age of 60 hospitalized with COVID-19 have been sent to ICU, or intensive care. However, among patients with variants of concern, 30 per cent of people end up in the ICU. In total, 1,592 people under the age of 60 have been hospitalized with the virus since September.

Even as cases for seniors and other high-risk groups have gone down due to vaccination, more people between the ages of 19 and 39 have ended up infected with the coronavirus. This has led to more younger people in hospital and ICU; however, the rate of people under the age of 60 who require hospitalization has remained “low and stable” through the pandemic.

Henry cautioned that “the numbers are very small” and that data on variants of concern is being collected on an ongoing basis.

As of Wednesday, there were 1,581 cases of variants of concern in B.C.; of those, 1,397 were cases of the B.1.1.7 (U.K.) variant, 44 were cases of the B.1.351 (South Africa) variant and 140 were cases of the P.1 (Brazil) variant.

Henry warned that the although vaccination is ongoing, with more than 12 per cent of B.C. residents vaccinated with at least the first dose, cases are continuing to rise due to indoor gatherings.

“With the amount of virus spreading around the province – especially in the Lower Mainland – even a small group of people coming together means you can transmit,” she said.

“We’re seeing that people are taking that risk.”

While the recent loosening of restrictions may seem counterproductive, Henry said that the rules remain targeted.

“It’s not about easing restrictions as much as recognizing that at this phase of the pandemic we need to focus on things we can do safely,” she said.

“Things outside can be done much more safely than inside.”

Workplaces remain another major source of transmission. Henry said that between 33 and 40 per cent of new COVID-19 cases are coming from worksites, whether they are small business, restaurants or gyms.

READ MORE: Friends, family allowed to visit B.C. senior homes April 1


@katslepian

katya.slepian@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.

Coronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A photo illustration shows a fountain planned for Mill Lake. (City of Abbotsford photo)
UPDATED: City approves $200K fountain for Mill Lake using donated funds

Project will improve lake quality and ecosystem, say Abbotsford city staff

Linnea Labbee outside the Chilliwack Law Courts on April 1, 2021 on day 16 of her trial in BC Supreme Court where she is charged in connection with the fatal hit-and-run of a 78-year-old woman on Mary Street on Dec. 1, 2016. (Paul Henderson/ Chilliwack Progress)
Crown seeking jail time for 72-year-old Chilliwack woman found guilty in fatal hit-and-run

Trial of Linnea Labbee who struck and killed 78-year-old woman in 2016 ended Monday

The Abbotsford IHOP, shown here on April 5, is now completely removed. (John Morrow/Abbotsford News)
Abbotsford IHOP building taken down

Iconic restaurant had been on South Fraser Way for nearly 33 years

Abbotsford's Rick Hansen Secondary School is celebrating Vaisakhi virtually for 2021. (Submitted)
VIDEO: Abbotsford’s Rick Hansen Secondary School celebrates ‘Virtual Vaisakhi’

Production highlights local youth talent in anticipation of the start of annual festival on April 13

The Abbotsford Gogos are inviting local residents to watch a virtual concert in support of African grandmothers. The concert first airs on April 15. (Photo: Abbotsford Gogos Facebook page)
Abbotsford Gogos invite guests to virtual concert to support African grandmothers

Event first airs on April 15, featuring music, dance and storytelling

Burnaby MLA Raj Chouhan presides as Speaker of the B.C. legislature, which opened it spring session April 12 with a speech from the throne. THE CANADIAN PRESS
B.C. NDP promises more health care spending, business support in 2021 budget

John Horgan government to ‘carefully return to balanced budgets’

Surrey RCMP are seeking the public's help to locate three puppies stolen from a South Surrey home on April 10. (Surrey RCMP photos)
Puppies stolen during weekend break-and-enter in South Surrey

Surrey RCMP seeking public’s assistance in locating three American Bulldog puppies

A lady wears a sticker given out after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine at a clinic in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS
B.C.’s COVID-19 case count slows after last week’s peak

3,219 new cases since Friday, 18 additional deaths

North Cowichan councillor Tek Manhas did not violate the municipality’s code of conduct by posting a sexist meme on Facebook, council concludes. (File photo)
B.C. municipality to take no action against councillor who posted sexist meme

Tek Manhas’s meme doesn’t violate North Cowichan council’s code of conduct, municipality concludes

Guinevere, lovingly referred to by Jackee Sullivan and her family as Gwenny, is in need of a gynecological surgery. The family is raising money to help offset the cost of the procedure. (Jackee Sullivan/Special to Langley Advance Times)
Langley lizard’s owners raise funds for gynecological surgery

The young reptile is scheduled for operation on Tuesday

—Image: contributed
Indoor wine tastings still allowed in B.C., not considered a ‘social gathering’

“Tasting is really just part of the retail experience. The analogy I use is you wouldn’t buy a pair of pants without trying them on.”

Mounties say they “corralled” four Ford Mustangs April 4 after an officer saw the muscle cars racing down 184 Street near 53 Avenue at about 10 p.m. (File Photo)
Mounties impound four Mustangs

Surrey RCMP say they seized four cars for street racing

A sign on a shop window indicates the store is closed in Ottawa, Monday March 23, 2020. The Canadian Federation of Independent Business is raising its estimate for the number of businesses that are considering the possibility of closing permanently. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Small business struggling amid COVID-19 pandemic looks for aid in Liberals’ budget

President Dan Kelly said it is crucial to maintain programs to help businesses to the other side of the pandemic

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Most Read