Vernon Health Unit COVID-19 testing site has seen long lineups and delays. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)

Vernon Health Unit COVID-19 testing site has seen long lineups and delays. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)

Interior Health tops all of B.C. with Tuesday’s COVID-19 cases

Provincial health report numbers show region with 406 new cases

New cases of the coronavirus are primarily in the Interior Health region.

Provincial health data from Tuesday, Feb. 1 shows the highest number of cases, 406, were in the Interior Health Authority (IHA).

Fraser Health, which traditionally has the highest numbers, reported 253 new cases, followed by Vancouver Coastal with 212, 188 in Island Health and 171 in Northern Health.

There were nine new deaths reported, all in Fraser Health, for a total of 2,625 fatalities since the pandemic began two years ago. IHA had the most deaths reported on Monday, eight, out of 19 provincewide.

The daily COVID-19 case reports have shown IH numbers creeping ahead of other regions in recent weeks.

This isn’t the first time the region has topped the province with daily cases counts. There were several days in a row in July 2021, when the region had the highest rate of infection in B.C. At that time, the daily numbers were in the two-digit range of 13-19.

IHA hit 521 on Jan. 6, according to BC Centre for Disease Control data.

READ MORE: Interior Health COVID-19 cases second highest in B.C., 2 days in a row

Provincially, the number of hospital patients with active infections declined slightly from Monday’s total.

There are 1,035 people in hospital with active COVID-19 infections as of Feb. 1, down from 1,048 in the past 24 hours, a sign that the peak in new cases in January is showing up in hospitals. There are 139 people in intensive care with active infections, up one since Monday.

The rising number of infected patients in B.C. hospitals is largely a result of the Omicron surge. New data from the B.C. Centre for Disease Control show 44 per cent of B.C. patients testing positive for COVID-19 after admission to hospital since Dec. 1 were admitted for other conditions and had either mild or no respiratory symptoms. For cases where Omicron is identified as the infection variant, the tests show 60 per cent of hospital admissions are for reasons other than COVID-19 during December and January.

“So it’s not COVID that’s driving them into hospital,” provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said at a briefing from Vancouver Feb. 1.

– with files from Tom Fletcher, Black Press Media

READ MORE: B.C.’s hospital cases show decline Tuesday, 9 more deaths

READ MORE: 8 deaths in Interior Health over weekend, most in B.C.


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