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Island Health adjusting services due to Omicron-related staffing shortages

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Several temporary service adjustments are underway at Vancouver Island hospitals due to Omicron-related COVID-19 staffing shortages and challenges.

In a Tuesday announcement, Island Health President and CEO Kathy MacNeil said the shortages “significantly impact” hospital staff and medical staff from providing safe, quality care.

“These are not actions we want to take, and we don’t take them lightly knowing the impact they have on those we serve,” she said.

According to Island Health, elective, scheduled surgeries were postponed at most hospitals in early January, and will continue to be delayed until the end of the month at Nanaimo Regional General, Victoria General and Royal Jubilee hospitals.

However, the health authority says remaining sites will begin restarting where staffing levels support.

It says several ambulatory care services have been slowed down, with staffing levels at larger acute care sites being improved through the redeployment of staff.

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In fact, rotating ambulance diversions at the emergency departments within the Port Hardy and Port McNeill hospitals have been implemented to ensure inpatient care at each site and provide emergency lab access in Northern Vancouver Island.

Meanwhile, Island Health says staffing levels are being adjusted daily and shift-by-shift, with the rescheduling of non-critical visits like laundry and linen services continuing in the weeks ahead.

It also adds that long-term care staffing is being monitored daily, and contingency plans are in place at local homes, including rescheduling activities or services.

Find more details here.

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