B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix and provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry at the B.C. legislature, April 27, 2020. (B.C. government)

B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix and provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry at the B.C. legislature, April 27, 2020. (B.C. government)

B.C. has 503 in hospital, 853 new cases of COVID-19 on Thursday

Pressure on hospitals at highest level, especially in Lower Mainland

B.C. public health officials recorded another 853 cases of COVID-19 infection Thursday, as provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry warned of continued high pressure on the hospital system from seriously ill patients.

There are 503 people in hospital, and “our cases are still much higher than we want them to be,” Henry said April 29. Most of the cases continue to be in the Lower Mainland, where a recreational travel ban is in effect to and from other regions of the province.

There has been one coronavirus-related death in the past 24 hours, in the Interior Health region, for a total of 1,577 province-wide since the pandemic began. Of the new cases, 574 were confirmed in the Fraser Health region, 181 in Vancouver Coastal, 43 in Interior Health, 25 in Northern Health and 30 on Vancouver Island.

“Age is still the most predictive factor for ending up in hospital or in intensive care,” Henry said. “What we have seen in the last week is that is starting to come down again, which is good news, but we know it takes time before hospitalization and people who end up in ICU either recover or end up being transferred back to non-critical care.”

Henry acknowledged that vaccination does not provide total protection, but said rates of infection are 10 times lower.

“We do know that there are some people who have received vaccine who have become infected with COVID-19, but the rates of infection are an order of magnitude lower after immunization, and most of the people in hospital right now are people who have not been immunized, or were within the period of time before their immune system was stimulated by the vaccine,” she said.

B.C.’s age-based, pharmacy-based and high-risk worker vaccination program has delivered 1.7 million doses so far, and public health officials expect that with vaccine supplies increasing through May, all adults should be in a position to register and receive vaccination by mid-June. Registration details are here.

RELATED: Fraser Health apologizes for confusion, stops pop-up clinics

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