Dr. Bonnie Henry

Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry

New cases of COVID-19 in B.C. are declining but hospitalizations due to the disease are still rising, government officials said Friday.

The data suggests the Omicron wave may have peaked in terms of its infectious spread but many more people will still get sick and require hospital care.

“We’ve seen, in this past week particularly, that we’ve started to see a decrease in the test positivity and in the number of cases,” provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said during the government’s pandemic update.

“We think that we hit the peak of community transmission in British Columbia probably this past weekend,” she said.

However, the trend is not uniform across the province. While case rates have dropped in the populous Fraser Health and Vancouver Coastal Health areas, the curve is just beginning to flatten in Interior Health and it’s still rising sharply in Northern Health.

And while case numbers have dropped for almost all age groups, they are still rising among people aged 80 and older.

Ontario and Quebec are starting to see a more significant decrease in community transmission than is the case in B.C., Henry said. Case counts are “still very much on the upswing” in other provinces, she said.

“But we’re all on an upward trajectory in numbers of new people admitted to hospital per day,” she said. “We’re seeing that across the board . . . new hospitalizations are still a concern.”

Among those aged 70 and older, there has been a “dramatic increase” in hospitalizations due to COVID-19, Henry said. “And unfortunately that’s where we’re seeing an uptick in people who are dying from Covid as well,” she said.

People who are fully vaccinated, with two shots plus the booster, are much less likely than the unvaccinated to end up in hospital with COVID-19, Henry said. She said it was “really important” for the 50,000 British Columbians over age 70 who haven’t yet received their booster to do so as soon as possible.