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Vancouver Island COVID-19 hospitalization rates on the rise, BC data shows

Children under 5 can get vaccinated in Victoria starting next week

By Brishti Basu
July 29, 2022
Latest News
News
Based on facts either observed and verified firsthand by the reporter, or reported and verified from knowledgeable sources.

Vancouver Island COVID-19 hospitalization rates on the rise, BC data shows

Children under 5 can get vaccinated in Victoria starting next week

By Brishti Basu
Jul 29, 2022
Photo: Jimmy Thomson / Capital Daily
Photo: Jimmy Thomson / Capital Daily
Latest News
News
Based on facts either observed and verified firsthand by the reporter, or reported and verified from knowledgeable sources.

Vancouver Island COVID-19 hospitalization rates on the rise, BC data shows

Children under 5 can get vaccinated in Victoria starting next week

By Brishti Basu
July 29, 2022
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Vancouver Island COVID-19 hospitalization rates on the rise, BC data shows
Photo: Jimmy Thomson / Capital Daily

The latest data from the BCCDC shows COVID-19 hospitalization rates are on the rise in Island Health. 

In the two weeks from July 10 to 23, 81 people in the Island Health region and 515 people across BC were hospitalized with COVID-19—though these numbers are expected to rise when the data is corrected next week.

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Graphs from the province, labelled up-to-date as of July 26, shows hospitalizations may be starting to stabilize in the other two health authorities but, the data is updated every week based on corrections, so it’s too soon to tell whether hospitalizations from this wave of the pandemic have yet plateaued anywhere in BC. 

Regular data on daily hospital admissions is still not provided by the province, though experts like Sarah Otto from the BC COVID-19 Modelling Group say they have repeatedly requested it

Graph: BC CDC

Despite the lack of public data to base modelling on, hospitalization rates in BC are on track to reach fellow group member Dr. Dean Karlen’s prediction of 40 to 60 admissions per day by the end of July; the two weeks from July 10-23 had a rate of about 37 admissions per day. 

A spike in COVID-19 hospital admissions means even more patients for already overcrowded and understaffed hospitals across Vancouver Island. In a Capital Daily report last month, Saanich Peninsula Hospital emergency physician Dr. Jeff Unger predicted that if the situation worsens, contingency plans—like postponing scheduled surgeries—would have to be reintroduced. “It will be an incredibly challenging summer and fall,” he said at the time. 

While COVID-19 testing rates are the lowest they’ve ever been, the percentage of people testing positive for COVID-19 is still on the rise in every health authority. Island Health has the highest test positivity rate in BC, at 24% (among those who used publicly funded PCR testing) as of July 16. 

Across BC, people older than 80 years are testing positive at the highest rates, but the second highest rates are tied between people aged 60-79 years and children under 5. 

This last group is now eligible to get vaccinated, in a rollout that will begin next week. 

Paediatric vaccine rollout

Starting next week, children aged six months up to five years will be able to get the Moderna Spikevax COVID-19 vaccine at clinics in the Island Health region. 

Five clinics have been set up in the region specifically to provide that vaccine to children—including one inside the Quadra Village Community Centre, one in the Westshore and a third in Sooke—and there will be more pop-up and mixed clinics in smaller and remote communities in the coming weeks. 

A poster inside the Quadra Village Community Centre vaccination clinic. Photo: Brishti Basu / Capital Daily

That vaccine was approved by Health Canada on July 14. It’s a two-dose series with the second shot provided eight weeks after the first. Parents and guardians can register their children on the province’s COVID-19 vaccination website

Sandra Bishop, an Island Health public health nurse, told reporters on Thursday that the next week of vaccine appointments at the Quadra Village clinic is almost fully booked up. Nurses expect to vaccinate about 200 children at that location next week. 

“We’ve seen so far in studies that this vaccine is very well tolerated, so we don’t expect any side effects any different than our routine childhood vaccination series,” Bishop said. 

The clinic at Quadra Village is equipped with private rooms for children who might get more nervous, and a waiting area with juice boxes and colouring materials for kids to use after they’ve been vaccinated and need to monitor for potential side effects for 15 minutes. 

Capital Daily toured the facility on Thursday.

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