Port McNeill Hospital front sign (Photo: Ethan Morneau, staff)
Island Health is making room for Northern Health intensive care patients. Twenty-two ICU patients from that region are now receiving care on Vancouver Island.
“It’s hard on them. It’s hard on their families. It’s hard on health care workers,” Health Minister Adrian Dix said.
The transfers are in an effort to relax the strain on Northern Health hospitals, caused by a local spike in COVID-19 cases.
“All of these steps are being taken to assure that our acute care system can respond appropriately to all of the things that it needs to respond to,” Dix said at a Tuesday (Oct. 5) press conference.
According to Dix, as reported on Monday, 32 ICU patients were transferred out of Northern Health to other parts of the province, including Island, Fraser, and Coastal Health. And of that total, 26 have COVID-19, with none of the 26 fully vaccinated.
But it’s the “reality of the situation,” Dix finds.
He said 32 people had to be flown by air ambulance to another health region, “far from their home communities.” He continued, “There are, I believe, 22 of them who came to Vancouver Island, which is a long way from Vanderhoof and Smithers and Pouce Coupe, and from Dawson Creek and Fort St John and Prince George.”
As well, Dix noted the transferring of patients is impacting surgeries everywhere, “including on Vancouver Island.”
COVID on Vancouver Island:
The BCCDC’s COVID-19 Dashboard for Island Health currently shows 40 people in hospital have the virus, with 23 in the ICU.
Meanwhile, in yesterday’s provincial COVID-19 update, 107 new cases were reported within Island Health, breaking the single-day record of 102 set back on Sept. 17. Province-wide, the new case number jumped to 593, including nine epi-linked cases, totalling 5,937 active cases in B.C.