An average of just over four in 10 deaths linked to COVID-19 in B.C. between April and mid-August were actually caused by the virus, reports the B.C. Centre for Disease Control.
The BCCDC’s most recent situation report reports 1,110 deaths since the province moved to its “30 day all cause mortality” reporting model on April 2. The virus was listed as the underlying cause for 427 of them.
Investigators are still investigating the underlying cause of 107 fatalities during that timeframe, but have confirmed COVID-19 was not the underlying cause of the remaining 576 deaths.
That “30 day all cause mortality” model includes all deaths within 30 days of a patient testing positive for the virus, no matter the cause of death. Officials have acknowledged it results in an overestimation of the true number of deaths caused by COVID-19.
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Between April 2 and Aug. 20, the BCCDC recorded at least one death with COVID-19 as an underlying cause in every age category, except youth between 10 and 19 years old. Just nine of those deaths were among people under the age of 60.
The vast majority of deaths, 69 per cent, were among people older than 80, with the median age of fatalities being 85 years old.
The agency said the number of deaths may increase over time as data becomes more complete.
The BCCDC’s count on underlying cause of death conflicts with the opinion of the independent B.C. COVID-19 modelling group, which points to a large increase in unexplained excess mortality during the pandemic, and suggested this month that the province is significantly undercounting deaths.
Cases in hospital, critical care drop
Meanwhile, the number of COVID-19 cases in B.C. hospitals has fallen to its lowest level since the end of June, according to Thursday’s update from the BCCDC.
As of Sept. 1, there were 306 positive cases in B.C. hospitals, a decrease of 25 from a week prior, and 25 cases in critical care, a decrease of four.
The province counts all positive cases in the hospital, regardless for the reason a patient was admitted.
Hospital admissions also appear to be continuing a gradual downward trend, as of the seven-day counting period ending Aug. 27.
The BCCDC reported 160 COVID-positive admissions during that timeframe, however, the data is preliminary and weekly admission data has been consistently revised and significantly increased.
For context, the BCCDC originally reported 180 COVID-19 hospital admissions between Aug. 14 and Aug. 20. That number has now been revised to 213, an increase of 18 per cent.
For the period ending Aug. 27, the province reported 33 deaths.
That figure that is expected to be revised and increased next week, although it may eventually be decreased when it is included in a future review of underlying causes of death.
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