Three people in their 30s have recently died from COVID-19 in B.C.

Virus killing younger people

While older people continue to be most at risk of suffering severe or fatal effects from COVID-19, there has been an uptick of recent COVID-related deaths among British Columbians in their 30s in recent weeks.

During Thursday's press conference, Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said three British Columbians in their 30s have died from COVID-19 in recent weeks. She did not say where in B.C. these people lived.

“What we have seen sadly is deaths in now three young people in their 30s, some with underlying illnesses and some who were Indigenous people related to some of the outbreaks we're seeing,” Dr. Henry said.

She noted that the majority of deaths are still among older people though.

“Most of the deaths are occurring in acute care facilities, in some of the acute care outbreaks, and they are mostly driven by people who are older, people who are living in the community who become infected – whether through family members, through social interactions, through work – but we also are seeing some younger people, particularly in some of the Indigenous people who've been infected recently,” she said.

The most recent data released by the BC CDC shows just six British Columbians in their 30s have died from the virus from the beginning of the pandemic to Feb. 13. It's unclear if these three recent deaths announced by Dr. Henry Thursday are in addition to those six. Up to Feb. 13, 88 per cent of B.C.'s deaths were among people 70 years of age and older.

Dr. Henry said they don't believe the increase in young deaths is related to changes in the virus, and she noted no one in B.C. has died from any of the variants of the virus.

“Even young people can have severe illness, particularly if you have underlying conditions as well,” she said. “It's not, as far as we can tell, related to any changes in the virus, it's more the conditions and the community transmission that we're seeing in some communities.

“It's why it's so important for us not to lose sight that this is still circulating in our community, and while we know that your risk goes up dramatically after age 70, everybody [else] is not immune to this virus and it can cause severe illness.”

To date, 1,348 British Columbians have died from COVID-19, including 101 people in the Interior.

More BC News