Ministry health

BC Ministry of Health drops daily reporting of active COVID-19 cases – Coast Mountain News

The sharp rise in COVID-19 infections since the Omicron wave began late last year has overwhelmed BC’s testing and contact tracing resources, skewed closely watched hospitalization rates and its shorter incubation period has changed isolation rules to the point where active cases can no longer be accurately tracked.

As a result, the British Columbia Ministry of Health is ending its daily reporting of active cases and people who have left isolation, provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said Wednesday. Omicron’s dominance has also widened the gap between daily new cases confirmed by testing and the actual number of new infections which can be four or five times higher on any given day.

“As you know, we have changed our testing strategy to focus on people who need a test because it affects their health management or it is important for them in terms of returning to work,” said said Henry during a weekly briefing on February 9. “And because of that, some of the metrics we reported on daily, particularly those on active cases and people who have been removed from isolation, are no longer accurate. And they no longer accurately reflect what is happening in the community.

The change took effect Thursday, as the province reported 1,318 new confirmed cases in the 24 hours to Feb. 10 and 867 people in B.C. hospitals with COVID-19 infections, including 138 in care. intensive. Five other deaths have been attributed to COVID-19.

Data on hospitalized patients discharged on February 1 showed that more than 40% of patients in British Columbia who tested positive for COVID-19 after being admitted to hospital since December 1 were admitted for other conditions and had mild or no respiratory symptoms. For cases where Omicron is identified as the infection variant, testing shows that 60% of hospital admissions are for reasons other than COVID-19 in December and January.

“So it’s not COVID that’s pushing them into the hospital,” provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said during a briefing in Vancouver on Feb. 1.

Daily case reports have been a staple of media coverage for two years, focusing on new cases and those infected in hospital. They were seen as a valid measure of the progression of the pandemic during the Delta wave, which caused severe illness in a greater portion of those infected. Henry noted that while Omicron is generally less severe, especially for people who have received three doses of the vaccine, the number of people infected translates into continued strain on the hospital system for those who develop pneumonia-like illness.

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