The newly circulating COVID-19 subvariant has been confirmed in 24 individuals in British Columbia.

To date, 24 cases of the novel Omicron subvariant known as XBB 1.5 (or Kraken) have been confirmed in British Columbia; these cases account for around 5–6% of all genome-sequenced samples in the province.

The information was presented at a news conference on Friday afternoon by Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix.

According to Henry, BQ.1.1, another Omicron child, makes up the remaining 95% of sequenced samples in British Columbia, proving that XBB 1.5 (also known as “Kraken”) is not the predominant strain there.

The authorities’ comments are being broadcast live on CBC News.

PCR testing by themselves cannot detect variations. On “some” tests, BC employs genome sequencing to find them.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention predicted that the XBB 1.5 subvariant would eventually account for around 45% of COVID-19 cases in that nation due to its rapid dissemination there.

The briefing in British Columbia was held the day after the B.C. Centre for Disease Control published data showing that the number of COVID-19 patients admitted to hospitals has been steadily declining, with slightly over 300 individuals admitted as of this writing.

The statistics also revealed a general decline in COVID-19 mortality over the previous two months, with 34 deaths recorded in the final week of 2022.

influenza is reducing
Since the peak in late November, according to Henry, the prevalence of influenza has slowly decreased across all age groups. Currently, there are 5% of test results that are positive, which is down from a peak of 27%.

Since the fall, when authorities reported six children and teens had passed away from the flu, there have been no additional pediatric flu deaths.

The province is “not out of the woods” for the respiratory sickness season, according to Henry, who noted that the “extraordinary, dramatic surge in influenza” had subsided. She claimed that during this stage of flu season, another, less severe wave is typical.

The BCCDC reports that RSV test positive rates continue to be high.

Flu didn’t spread during the first two years of the epidemic, so some people’s immune systems didn’t build the necessary defenses, she explained. “There is a whole cohort of children who were never exposed to children.

As a delayed outcome of more people coming together in person last month for the holidays, Dix stated this week that the province is anticipating some “particularly hard weeks for our health-care system.”

Hospitalizations and wastewater testing are stronger indicators of the severity of the disease’s effects in cases in British Columbia because the actual number of cases is probably higher than what the BCCDC is reporting.

The majority of British Columbians now lack access to lab-confirmed PCR tests, which constitute the foundation for reported infections.

Since the start of the pandemic, 4,961 persons in British Columbia are thought to have passed away from COVID-19-related causes.

As the BCCDC and the provincial Health Ministry get updated data from regional health authorities, the number of fatalities, hospitalizations, and recorded cases may be retroactively altered.