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Health Officials say hospitalizations have peaked, can proceed with cautious optimism

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B.C. health officials say it appears Omicron hospitalizations have peaked and a cautious reopening could be possible.

The announcement comes as officials say hospitalization numbers are higher than ever in the pandemic. However, they say the numbers have more detail than the amount.

According to Dr. Bonnie Henry, Delta has been causing individuals to go to the hospital. However, those with Omicron are often in the hospital for unrelated concerns and test positive during screening tests while in care.

Henry also said that those in hospital with Omicron stay about half as long as those with Delta.

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Other factors that are contributing to those in the hospital include age and vaccination, according to health officials.

“If you are admitted for COVID you are much likely to be younger with Delta,” said Henry. “With Omicron, in younger people it’s much more likely to be for something else where you had a positive screening test.”

Henry said that looking towards mid-February, the possibility of lifting some restrictions is still there. However, it wouldn’t be a fast reopening.

“It will not be a flip of the switch,” said Henry. “It’ll be increasing the dimmer switch a gradual turning of the dial so that we can do this cautiously and not put people at risk as we get closer to the end of this wave.”

The province recorded 1,236 new cases on Tuesday with 188 in Island health. Hospitalizations dropped slightly with 1,035 in hospital and 139 in ICU.

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