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

Volunteers from the Rotary Club of Port Alberni collect garbage in the Scotiabank parking lot on Saturday, April 17 as part of a Community Clean Up. (ELENA RARDON / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)
Port Alberni’s community street clean-up a success

Alberni Aquarium and Stewardship Centre plans ocean clean-up for April 24 and 25

Wounded Warriors runners run along Beaver Creek Road towards the Beaver Creek Volunteer Fire Department hall. (ELENA RARDON / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)
Port Alberni’s Wounded Warriors stage solo run

Vancouver Island-wide event was cancelled, but Maria Marciano and Dave Nesbitt ran anyway

Wickaninnish (Clifford Atleo) plays the drum while singing the Nuu-chah-nulth song on the court steps in Vancouver In a picture from April 2018. Photo credit, Melody Charlie.
Five Nuu-chah-nulth Nations celebrate legal victory in fishing dispute

Ha’oom Fisheries Society and T’aaq-wiihak Fisheries announce “major legal victory”

Winston Joseph, known as Mr. Positive Port Alberni, leads the 2019 Canada Day parade with his wife Sheila. Winston, who was integral in starting the July 1 folkfest, died April 11, 2021 at the age of 89. (PHOTO COURTESY SONJA DRINKWATER)
Community remembers Winston Joseph with Canada Day parade in April

‘Mr. Positive Port Alberni’ started Canada Day folk fest, lived a life of service and faith

Grade 5 Wood Elementary Students cycling on the powerline trail. (SUBMITTED PHOTO)
Wood School bicycles, equipment worth $8,000 stolen

Equipment was stored at Echo Fieldhouse in Port Alberni

FILE – NDP Leader John Horgan, right, and local candidate Mike Farnworth greet one another with an elbow bump during a campaign stop in Coquitlam, B.C., on Friday, September 25, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. won’t be using random individual road stops to enforce travel rules: Safety Minister

Minister Mike Farnworth says travel checks only being considered at major highway junctions, ferry ports

The city asking the public if they want to pursue legal action against the province and their decision to override the city on the Victory Church issue. (Jesse Day Western News)
Penticton to sue province over homeless shelter

City council voted unanimously to go forward with legal action

Club Phoenix Fitness in Langford is the first Island business to be ordered closed by the provincial workplace closure order put into effect April 11. It will be closed until at least April 29. (Google Streetview/Screenshot)
Langford gym first Island business to be closed by public health order

Workplace closure order can now close businesses with three or more COVID-19 cases

Police executed a search warrant at the Devils Army Clubhouse on Petersen road in Campbell River on August 10, 2017.
Murder trial into 2016 Campbell River killing underway in Victoria

Ricky Alexander is charged with the first-degree murder of John Dillon Brown

..
Abbotsford nurse at ‘breaking point’ pleads with public to take COVID-19 seriously

Instagram post urges general population to stay home, wear a mask and get vaccinated

Alex Mah of Chemainus spends a sunny day at Kin Beach reading to daughter Beatrice Mah. 3. (Photo by Don Bodger)
Vancouver Island’s mini-summer poised to fade

Cooler and damper this weekend, summer-like conditions not likely to return until late June

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