Modeling used to prepare healthcare systems for the fall COVID and flu season predicts up to 700 more patient hospitalizations in the coming months.
B.C. provincial health officials say a new variant of COVID-19 is unlikely, but fears the state could see a surge in both the virus and flu in late fall. .
In a modeling update from Vancouver on Wednesday, Dr Bonnie Henry noted that the spike in omicron in Australia and New Zealand was paired with an early onset of influenza with severe peaks.
The worst-case scenario, Henry said, is that BC faces a spike in COVID-19 in November and December that weakens some people’s immune systems, which coincides with a flu spike. That could affect the state’s planned hospital capacity.
On the positive side, Henry doesn’t expect new variants of COVID-19 to emerge in the fall. Highly contagious, his Omicron strain has the longest running of all variants, lasting about 10 months. Omicron subvariants are subject to change — BA.1 has been overtaken by BA.5 and BA.5.1 and now BA2.75 and BA.4 are back — but mutations are all the same concern within one variant and within the same linked genetic code. To Omicron, she said.
“In the next few months, it is highly unlikely that we will face a new, unknown or rapidly progressing strain that has escaped vaccination or immunity from previous infections and is more virulent than it is today. ‘ she said.
But there are concerns that additional activities, including travel and gatherings, could bring back respiratory viruses that haven’t been prevalent in recent years, Henry said.
Public health experts are most concerned about respiratory infections that are particularly difficult for children, including respiratory syncytial virus, commonly referred to as RSV, because there are no vaccinations available.
Modeling used to prepare healthcare systems for the fall COVID and flu season predicts up to 700 more patient hospitalizations in the coming months. The worst-case scenario presented would require 1,500 additional beds in late fall and early spring.
Overall hospital capacity in BC is approximately 9,400 patients per day.
Health Minister Adrian Dix said states should plan for about 1,200 additional patients. This means that bed management plans are underway. Dix said.
The worst-case scenario would require curtailing services and postponing surgeries, according to the health ministry.
“I want to emphasize again that we all have some power and we can control it to some extent,” Dix said. “Flu shot, can be vaccinated with her bivalent vaccine for COVID 19.”
Henry said British Columbians should be well vaccinated, stay home when sick, wear masks, keep gatherings small, ensure well-ventilated areas and wash their hands regularly. He said he hopes hospitalizations can be minimized if he makes sure he follows the public health advice from
Henry urged people to get their COVID vaccinations as soon as they get an invitation from the state and get their flu shots when they become available in October. Available at
Flu vaccination is free for children 6 months and older. People over the age of 65 are offered a flu vaccine that provides additional protection. Fluzone for seniors in long-term care and assisted living, and Fluad for community-dwelling seniors.
Recommended intervals for COVID-19 vaccine booster for ages 5 and older are 6 months after last vaccination, 3 months after last infection in vaccinated persons, and 3 months after last infection in infected but not yet vaccinated persons. should be vaccinated as soon as possible.
Studies have shown that people who have not been vaccinated against COVID-19 are four times more likely to be hospitalized and four times more likely to need critical care if they contract the virus. said Henry, who said the bivalent booster is now available to everyone over the age of 18.
This bivalent vaccine combines the original COVID-19 Wuhan variant and the Omicron BA.1 subvariant.
Invitations for the bivalent booster have been out since last month, as those who get the booster in the spring are due for their fourth injection.
Most of the population has some degree of immunity to COVID-19, either through vaccination or infection, Henry said, noting that about 60% of Canadians have the virus.
Findings by age group show that children have less vaccine-induced antibodies and more infection-induced antibodies, and older people have less infection-induced antibodies and more vaccine-induced antibodies.
Currently, 58% of eligible children aged 5-11 have received their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, 88% of British Columbians aged 5 and over have received two doses, and 88% of British Columbians aged 5 and over have received two doses 57% of children are vaccinated. He received a booster or third dose, according to the Ministry of Health.
Henry said 358 people tested positive for COVID-19 while in hospital on Tuesday.
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