A man wears a protective face covering to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 as he walks past the emergency entrance of Vancouver General Hospital in Vancouver, B.C., Friday, April 9, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward

A man wears a protective face covering to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 as he walks past the emergency entrance of Vancouver General Hospital in Vancouver, B.C., Friday, April 9, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward

COVID-19 spike in B.C. could overwhelm B.C. hospitals: modelling group

There are 397 people are in hospital due to the virus, surpassing a previous high of 374 seen in December

An independent COVID-19 modelling group says hospitalizations from COVID-19 are projected to overwhelm hospital capacity in British Columbia by May, unless rigorous restrictions are put in place.

The B.C. COVID 19 Modelling Group is made up of a range of academics from Simon Fraser University and the University of British Columbia and has support from the Pacific Institute for the Mathematical Sciences.

Sarah Otto, a UBC professor and a member of the group, has previously warned that the province is under-reporting its COVID-19 variants.

She says transmission of the virus must be reduced by roughly 40 per cent from the levels seen in March to help health authorities control case growth.

The group also projects cases of variants of concern to rise to nearly 2,000 a day by late April.

Otto says this isn’t the COVID we know from last year, because the new variants are three to five times more likely to land a person in hospital.

“That spike is going to overwhelm hospitals and (intensive care unit) capacity before we have time to get our vaccines rolled out unless we bend this curve,” she said in an interview, referring to reducing the rate of virus transmission.

The province reported Wednesday that 397 people are in hospital due to the virus, surpassing a previous high of 374 seen in December.

British Columbia reported 1,168 new COVID-19 cases, bringing its total number to 114,870. There are 9,821 active COVID-19 cases, along with six new deaths.

Otto said B.C.’s vaccination program also needs to target those with the most contacts to both reduce infection and hospitalization rates over the next two to three months.

B.C. had administered almost 1.2 million doses of the vaccines as of Wednesday.

“We really have to hold off on our collective activity for a couple more months and let the vaccination rollout play out,” Otto said. “The loosening up I think a lot of people were starting to do, it’s just not the right time.”

Rapid testing, along with targeting vaccinations to hot spots and members of the population most at risk, could reduce the spread of variants, Otto said.

In particular, rapid testing could improve B.C.’s contact tracing efforts, which could better identify areas of transmission, she added.

Health Minister Adrian Dix and provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said in a joint statement that all those eligible to be vaccinated should do so.

“This not only protects you, but also provides greater protection to everyone around you,” they said.

The warning from experts comes after B.C. Premier John Horgan said Tuesday that his cabinet would be considering further restrictions.

The B.C. Restaurants and Food Association said it was informed by Henry that current dine-in restrictions would likely be extended past April 19 and into May.

The association said in a release that members were told the rise in B.C.’s COVID-19 cases was given as one of the reasons for the extension of closures.

READ MORE: Canada negotiating contracts to secure COVID-19 booster shots for next year

READ MORE: B.C.’s COVID-19 case count jumps to 1,168 Wednesday, nearly 400 in hospital

READ MORE: Calls for government transparency in COVID data continue as B.C.’s 3rd wave wears on

Nick Wells, The Canadian Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Coronavirus

Just Posted

Reflective number or design on hoodie. Police are seeking help in identifying three youth involved in an incident on Soderholm Road early June 12. Photo courtesy Campbell River RCMP
Do you know where your kids were at 1:24 a.m.?

Campbell River RCMP seeking help identifying three youths

John Hart Dam near Campbell River, B.C. BC Hydro photo
Campbell River watershed forecasts improve with rainfall

BC Hydro projects slightly higher resevoir levels and river flows after rainy May and June

North Island MLA Michele Babchuk. Photo contributed
COMMENTARY: MLA Michele Babchuk talks the future of forestry

‘These forests are important to every single one of us, myself included’

Heather Gordon Murphy (l-r) and Jan Wade, chair and executive director, respectively, of the Downtown Campbell River Business Improvement Association, are working to make the city’s core a safer and more welcoming place.
Downtown Campbell River BIA working to change perceptions

Downtown Campbell River BIA is establishing nighttime security patrols and targeting beautification

Carl Sweet (left) speaks with Rod Burns before the march from Logger Mike to MLA Michele Babchuk’s office in Campbell River. The men were from two different sides of the issue of old growth logging in B.C. Photo by Marc Kitteringham / Campbell River Mirror
VIDEO: Old growth forest counter-rallies converge on the streets of Campbell River

Pro-forestry and preserve old growth supporters argue and debate in front of MLA’s office

At an outdoor drive-in convocation ceremony, Mount Royal University bestows an honorary Doctor of Laws on Blackfoot Elder and residential school survivor Clarence Wolfleg in Calgary on Tuesday, June 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
‘You didn’t get the best of me’: Residential school survivor gets honorary doctorate

Clarence Wolfleg receives honorary doctorate from Mount Royal University, the highest honour the school gives out

Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller is seen during a news conference, Wednesday May 19, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Indigenous child-welfare battle heads to court despite calls for Ottawa to drop cases

Feds are poised to argue against two Canadian Human Rights Tribunal rulings

The Great Ogopogo Bathtub Race has been held in Summerland as a fundraising event. Do you know which Canadian city introduced this sport? (Black Press file photo)
QUIZ: A summer’s day at the water

How much do you know about boats, lakes and water?

Two-year-old Ivy McLeod laughs while playing with Lucky the puppy outside their Chilliwack home on Thursday, June 10, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: B.C. family finds ‘perfect’ puppy with limb difference for 2-year-old Ivy

Ivy has special bond with Lucky the puppy who was also born with limb difference

A million-dollar ticket was sold to an individual in Vernon from the Lotto Max draw Friday, June 11, 2021. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Lottery ticket worth $1 million sold in Vernon

One lucky individual holds one of 20 tickets worth $1 million from Friday’s Lotto Max draw

“65 years, I’ve carried the stories in my mind and live it every day,” says Jack Kruger. (Athena Bonneau)
‘Maybe this time they will listen’: Survivor shares stories from B.C. residential school

Jack Kruger, living in Syilx territory, wasn’t surprised by news of 215 children’s remains found on the grounds of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School

A logging truck carries its load down the Elaho Valley near in Squamish, B.C. in this file photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chuck Stoody
Squamish Nation calls for old-growth logging moratorium in its territory

The nation says 44% of old-growth forests in its 6,900-square kilometre territory are protected while the rest remain at risk

Flowers and cards are left at a makeshift memorial at a monument outside the former Kamloops Indian Residential School to honour the 215 children whose remains are believed to have been discovered buried near the city in Kamloops, B.C., on Monday, May 31, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Pick a Sunday:’ Indigenous leaders ask Catholics to stay home, push for apology

Indigenous leaders are calling on Catholics to stand in solidarity with residential school survivors by not attending church services

Most Read