For every COVID case reported in British Columbia, 100 people get sick: reports

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Modeling group issues do not match reported vs. actual cases given lab tests on BC rations

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The actual number of COVID-19 cases in British Columbia could be up to 100 times higher than what is publicly reported by the government, according to an assessment by independent modellers.

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The British Columbia Modeling Group – which includes experts from the University of British Columbia, Simon Fraser University, the University of Victoria and the private sector – warned that the under-reporting of cases of COVID-19 makes it difficult for the public to understand the risks.

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UBC epidemiologist Sarah Otto, a member of the modeling group, said it’s important people know the infection rate is much higher than reported because it will influence their decisions to protect themselves .

“If you look at the BC website, the (infection rate) curves look so low that it would be reasonable to think…maybe we can behave more loosely,” Otto said, a Canada Research Chair in Theoretical and Experimental Evolution at UBC specializing in mathematical modeling.

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Using blood test survey data from the COVID-19 Immunity Task Force and Canadian Blood Services, the modeling group estimated that cases in British Columbia are underreported by up to 100 times. But provincial health officer Dr Bonnie Henry said past blood surveys show there could be up to 10 times more cases in British Columbia than lab tests reveal.

“As we enter respiratory disease season, everyone should remember that COVID-19 continues to circulate in the community. People should remain vigilant, apply COVID-19 safety precautions as needed, and keep their vaccines up to date,” Henry said in an email.

Although it has been known for some time that the number of cases has been underreported because the use of more expensive laboratory tests has been eliminated for the public and the province does not collect data on rapid tests , the magnitude was not known.

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While hospitalizations and deaths from COVID-19 have remained stable and declined recently, it remains important to know the true level of cases, especially to inform people about when and where to use masks and if and when to get vaccinated. or get vaccinated. , says Otto.

Although virtually all British Columbians are vaccinated or infected, protection will diminish over time, perhaps three to four months for the Omicron variant, Otto said.

On Thursday, British Columbia Health Minister Adrian Dix told CKNW that the health care system is preparing for what could be a very difficult fall and winter with COVID-19 and the flu.

Public health officials ended public briefings last spring and now the numbers are reported online, with more robust data being released once a week.

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The latest numbers from the BC Center for Disease Control show a downward trend since the spring in hospitalizations, intensive care and deaths. There was a small peak in August, which is now declining.

The latest figures show 24 deaths this week, with 22 people in intensive care and a total of 366 people in hospital. The new cases reported this week are 877.

Reported case rates are among the lowest since the start of the pandemic in spring 2020 and one-thirtieth of the peak in winter 2021.

Those most at risk of hospitalization or death continue to be those aged 60 and over, and particularly those over 80.

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