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

The Town of Qualicum Beach plans to establish temporary shelters. (Town of Qualicum Beach illustration)
Town of Qualicum Beach seeks $1.25M grant to build temporary housing units

Aim is to move tenants in prior to the end of 2021

Mount Arrowsmith Teachers’ Association and its Nanaimo-Ladysmith counterpart seek stricter COVID-19 rules. (PQB News file photo)
Mount Arrowsmith teachers’ union asks health authority for stricter COVID-19 measures

Teachers ask for vaccine, more online learning, mask mandate for primary students

Dashwood Volunteer Fire Department emergency response vehicle. (PQB News file photo)
Dashwood fire department issues warning to residents to hold off on yard debris burning

Fire chief: ‘Hold off on burning until we get some rain’

B.C. provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry speaks at a press conference Monday, April 18. (B.C. Government image)
New COVID-19 cases tick down on the central Island

New cases held to single digits three days in a row

(File photo)
PQB crime report: Vandals strike in Parksville, prowler lurks in Nanoose Bay

Oceanside RCMP receive 276 complaints in one-week period

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

A man pauses at a coffin after carrying it during a memorial march to remember victims of overdose deaths in Vancouver. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. announces historic half-billion-dollar funding for overdose crisis, mental health

Of it, $152 million will be used to address the opioid crisis and see the creation of 195 new substance use treatment beds

Children’s backpacks and shoes are seen at a CEFA (Core Education and Fine Arts) Early Learning daycare franchise, in Langley, B.C., on Tuesday May 29, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. budget to expand $10-a-day child care, but misses the mark on ‘truly universal’ system

$111 million will be used to fund 3,750 new $10-a-day spaces though 75 additional ChildCareBC universal prototype sites over the next three years.

Mak Parhar speaks at an anti-mask rally outside the Vancouver Art Gallery on Sunday, Nov. 1, 2020. Parhar was arrested on Nov. 2 and charged with allegedly violating the Quarantine Act after returning from a Flat Earth conference held in Geenville, South Carolina on Oct. 24. (Flat Earth Focker/YouTube.com screenshot)
Judge tosses lawsuit of B.C. COVID-denier who broke quarantine after Flat Earth conference

Mak Parhar accused gov, police of trespass, malfeasance, extortion, terrorism, kidnapping and fraud

Ambulance paramedic in full protective gear works outside Lion’s Gate Hospital, March 23, 2020. Hospitals are seeing record numbers of COVID-19 patients more than a year into the pandemic. (The Canadian Press)
B.C.’s COVID-19 infection rate declines, 849 cases Tuesday

Up to 456 people now in hospital, 148 in intensive care

Christy Clark, who was premier from 2011 to 2017, is the first of several present and past politicians to appear this month before the Cullen Commission, which is investigating the causes and impact of B.C.’s money-laundering problem over the past decade. (Darryl Dyck/Canadian Press)
Christy Clark says she first learned of money-laundering spike in 2015

The former B.C. premier testified Tuesday she was concerned the problem was ‘apparently at an all-time high’

Most Read