Data shows hospitalization rates for COVID-19 are jumping nearly 20% year-on-year, with fewer visits to intensive care and emergency units

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Entrance to the emergency department at Peter Lougheed Hospital in Calgary on August 22.Jeff Mackintosh/The Canadian Press

Across the country, hospital emergency departments and intensive care units have seen fewer COVID-19 patients compared to last year, but the number of people hospitalized with the virus is down. And it rose about 20 percent, according to Jadid data From the Canadian Institute of Health Information.

The latest data, released on Wednesday, shows there were more than 120,000 hospital stays among patients diagnosed with COVID-19 between April 2022 and March 2023, up 19 percent from 101,000 during the same period from 2021 to 2022. It rose The length of hospital stay for these patients is reduced to 20 days from 13.

“I think the increase in hospitalizations in the last fiscal year kind of tells us that COVID-19 is still around and it’s still having an impact on hospitals in Canada,” said Nicole Laureti, program lead for clinical administrative databases. in Sihe.

She indicated that the elderly are the most affected. Those aged 65 and over account for the largest increase in hospitalizations. The average age of hospitalized COVID-19 patients was also older at 75 years, compared to 63 years in the 2021-2022 reporting period.

These figures do not include data from Quebec. Ms. Laureti said that for about 90 per cent of the patients who were captured in the data, COVID-19 was their reason for visiting the hospital, either as their main diagnosis or to contribute to the care they needed.

Last winter, a resurgence of influenza and a surge of respiratory syncytial virus, or RSV, overwhelmed cases of COVID-19, which overwhelmed children’s hospitals across the country. CIHI data shows that the volume of emergency department visits and intensive care admissions for COVID-19 actually declined in the 2022-2023 reporting period.

CIHI recorded more than 222,000 emergency department visits due to COVID-19, down from 262,000 a year earlier. However, many of these visits took longer. Ninety percent of emergency department visits were completed within 25 hours, compared to 15 hours the previous year.

The summer surge reminds us that the pandemic is far from over

The number of intensive care units fell to 16,000 from 21,000. Admissions to the intensive care unit accounted for 13 percent of all hospital stays, and among patients requiring intensive care, 39 percent received ventilation and 23 percent died in hospital, the CIHI said.

Ms. Laureti said CIHI had not studied the causes of these patterns, but she explained that the data could be driven by a number of different factors, including the easing of public health measures, the resumption of pre-pandemic activities, and the use of booster vaccines.

By mid-2022, public health measures, such as requirements for mask-wearing, proof of vaccination and testing, have been lifted in most places across the country. And Most Canadians have received their initial series of COVID-19 vaccines.

After a dip in activity earlier this summer, the latest federal release is available data It shows the recent rise in hospital admissions for COVID-19. Between Aug. 9 and 15, the number of hospitalized COVID-19 patients rose to 1,723 from 1,546 in the previous week. The number of people in intensive care rose to 52 from 48 in the previous week.

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