B.C. hospitals are cancelling all elective surgeries this week to maximize their ability to accept urgent coronavirus patients. (Black Press files)

B.C. hospitals start cancelling elective surgeries in COVID-19 preparations

Long-term patients also being moved to create more space

Hospitals across B.C. are cancelling elective surgeries across the board this week, to free up beds and staff for an expected surge in coronavirus patients in need of acute care.

“B.C. health authorities are directed to immediately move all hospitals in the province to outbreak response basis,” Health Minister Adrian Dix said Monday. “This means hospitals will only undertake urgent and emergency procedures, and will postpone all non-urgent scheduled surgeries.

“This will be implemented in the next three to five days, and it will result in the cancellation of thousands of scheduled, elective surgeries in BC, and free up, as you would expect, hundreds and hundreds of hospital beds.”

Dix said the health ministry is also “moving to acquire more access to long-term care beds” in provincial facilities, so patients can be transferred from acute-care beds they no longer need.

RELATED: Three more deaths from coronavirus in B.C. care home

RELATED: Canada closing national borders to all but U.S. visitors

The actions in an already stretched B.C. health care system are necessary not only to create space to deal with the fast-spreading COVID-19, but also to transfer the surgeons, nurses, anesthesiologists and cleaning staff that are expected to be needed.

The announcement came Monday as Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry announced that there have been 30 more coronavirus cases confirmed over the weekend, bringing B.C.’s total to 103. The number of new cases has been climbing quickly as testing has expanded and more people come forward with the typical symptoms, including cough, fever and shortness of breath.

The B.C. College of Physicians and Surgeons has begun calling on recently retired doctors to activate their practice licences on a temporary basis to deal with the pandemic, as well as any doctors from outside B.C. who may be available, and medical staff of the Canadian Armed Forces.

To free up doctors from routine tasks, B.C. pharmacists have been empowered to renew lapsing drug prescriptions, and doctors’ notes for people to stay home from work have also been waived.


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

BC legislatureCoronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

COVID-19: Salmon Arm council makes tough decisions to address economic stress

Among the city’s measures are tax breaks, layoffs and a project delay

COVID-19: Diabetes Canada donation bins becoming garbage dumps amid pandemic

Diabetes Canada has asked residents to stop overflowing bins with donations and garbage

Okanagan College students receive emergency funding

Funding is available to domestic and Indigenous students from the Ministry of Advanced Education, Skills and Training

Okanagan temperatures to be in the double digits all week

Kelowna’s forecast projects a high of 17 degrees on Thursday

Shuswap residents invited to show white heart in support of health-care workers

Emailed messages will be posted at Shuswap Lake General Hospital

Okanagan College grading system critical despite COVID-19 pandemic

On heels of petition penned by student, VP academic says grading system necessary for accurate assessments

Here’s how to talk to people who aren’t taking physical distancing seriously

Approach the conversation with empathy says conflict expert

B.C. clears more acute hospital beds as COVID-19 case growth slows

Province holding about 40% of beds empty for peak still to come

As 500K+ apply for emergency benefit, Trudeau says aid coming for Canadians left behind

Canada Emergency Response Benefit provides $2,000 per month

Spike of visitors to Princeton-area stressing grocery supply chain and healthcare teams

‘We are really not set up to have this many people at this time of year.’ Area H Director Bob Coyne

Summerland to offer mental health webinar

Event will examine ways of coping during COVID-19 pandemic

Okanagan tourism continues to suffer following COVID-19 pandemic

The District of Lake Country voted to suspend tourism on March 31

Van crashes into Kamloops home

Police say the driver went into medical distress before the crash

Most Read