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

John and Jeri Wyatt hope the upcoming North Cowichan public hearing will move things along toward exclusion of the Chemainus River Campground from the Agricultural Land Reserve. (Photo by Don Bodger)
Opportunity for input on campground ALR exclusion at public hearing

Matter back on the agenda after a late reprieve in 2019 for Chemainus River Campground owners

Rainforest Arts in downtown Chemainus is closing temporarily. (Photo by Don Bodger)
Rising COVID cases cited in temporary Rainforest Arts closure

Contact can still be made through email and social media

The Red Zed 1 aroused a great deal of curiosity when it was stationed off Kin Beach in Chemainus. (Photo by Don Bodger)
Alaskan fast ferries the eventual load for heavy hauler

The Red Zed 1 stayed anchored in Chemainus for the better part of a month and a half

A police car at the scene of a child’s death Friday, April 9, at the Falcon Nest Motel in Duncan. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)
RCMP investigating child’s death at Duncan’s Falcon Nest Motel

First responders attended to a call about an unresponsive child at the… Continue reading

North Cowichan is looking for public input through a survey as it updates its Master Transportation Plan. (File photo)
North Cowichan looking for public input on transportation

Online survey to be held until April 22

Restaurant patrons enjoy the weather on a patio in Vancouver, B.C., Monday, April 5, 2021. The province has restricted indoor dining at all restaurants in B.C. due to a spike in COVID-19 numbers. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C.’s COVID-19 indoor dining, drinking ban extending into May

Restaurant association says patio rules to be clarified

Two men were seen removing red dresses alongside the Island Highway in Oyster Bay. (Submitted photo)
Two men filmed removing red dresses from trees on highway near Ladysmith

Activists hung the dresses to raise awareness for Vancouver Island’s Murdered/Missing Women & Girls

B.C. Premier John Horgan speaks at the B.C. legislature. (B.C. government)
Tougher COVID-19 restrictions in B.C., including travel, still ‘on the table’: Horgan

John Horgan says travel restrictions will be discussed Wednesday by the provincial cabinet

RCMP on scene yesterday at the altercation at the trailer park. (Submitted photo)
Violent altercation at Port Hardy trailer park sends one to hospital

Police say man confronted another over airsoft shooting, then was attacked with a weapon

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

John Albert Buchanan was found guilty of manslaughter in the 2017 death of Richard Sitar. Pictured here, Buchanan walking to the court in Nanaimo last year. (Karl Yu/News Bulletin)
Six years including time served for Nanaimo man in bludgeoning death

John Albert Buchanan sentenced in B.C. Supreme Court in Nanaimo for death of Richard Sitar

Protesters occupied a road leading to Fairy Creek Watershed near Port Renfrew. (Submitted photo)
B.C. First Nation says logging activist interference not welcome at Fairy Creek

Vancouver Island’s Pacheedaht concerned about increasing polarization over forestry activities

Flow Academy is not accepting membership applications from anybody who has received a dose of the vaccine, according to a password-protected membership application form. (Submitted image)
B.C. martial arts gym refusing patrons who have been vaccinated, wear masks

Interior Health has already issued a ticket to Flow Academy for non-compliance with public health orders

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

Most Read