Bonnie Henry calls B.C. hospitalizations “an overestimation” of COVID burden
After one year since the COVID vaccines have become available for Canadians B.C. is finally admitting the COVID hospitalization numbers don’t tell the full story of who’s in the hospital because of COVID or incidentally tested positive for covid during admission or while already in the hospital for covid unrelated issues.
With Bonnie stoking fears of high hospitalization numbers because of the testing system being overwhelmed in B.C. as Omicron spreads. Bonnie Henry admits the statistics she has been reporting have been misleading and not the most accurate because of willfully omitting information.
Henry said that right now, B.C. is counting everyone in the hospital with a COVID positive test as a hospitalization.
“We’re trying to tease apart people who are in hospital from COVID, people who are in hospital with COVID, and people who are in hospital because COVID exacerbated one of the underlying conditions,” she said. “It’s not easy to do that, except by going and looking at every individual chart.”
Henry said that the province is working on streamlining the tracking of hospitalization data, but that automation will miss key specifics.
“So it is an overestimation of the burden that Omicron is causing, but it is a number that we get,” Henry said. “It’s not 100% accurate every single day because it relies on people counting who’s in every single hospital and then collating that information.”
With the push from the public for more accurate data B.C. health minister Adrian Dix figured it was time to come clean and revealed Friday that the province’s hospital beds – currently at 95.1% capacity under COVID – operated at nearly a 10% higher capacity even before the pandemic began.
Dix said that during the winter flu season before COVID in 2019, hospital beds were at 103.5%.
“It’s not just an issue of we have this many beds available,” he said. “It’s also a significant staffing issue, which is why we are taking the steps we are taking.”
The procedures mentioned by Dix included the cancellation of surgeries ahead of time in order to make room for a predicted influx of COVID-19 patients, as well as the potential of staff illness and staffing shortage problems created by health officials from firing healthy healthcare workers and a refusal to hire them back to help care for patients. The staffing issue is not new either and has been a problem pre-pandemic.
On Friday, B.C. health officials announced 349 people in hospital with COVID-19 with 93 in intensive care. 3,144 new cases had been reported since Thursday.
As Anthony Furey of the Toronto Sun pointed out on December 30, 2021, Ontario’s officer of health, Kieran Moore, confessed that nearly half of the province’s COVID hospitalizations were incidental – that is, those who tested positive for COVID after arriving at the hospital but had checked in for other reasons.
A poll done by Postmedia shows the approval rating for B.C.’s provincial health officer is now hitting a new low of 62per cent.
At the start of 2021 Bonnie Henry had a much higher approval rating “And it’s a bigger drop from the start of 2021 when Henry polled at 75 per cent.”
Adrian Dix was already struggling with his approval rating and has dropped more all time lows, polling at 55%. Adrian Dix had an approval rating of 75% at the beginning of 2021.
You can read the rest of that poll by Postmedia here for rating on Justin Trudeau and Theresa Tam