B.C. hospitals are quiet since cancelling all elective surgeries to maximize he system’s ability to accept urgent coronavirus patients. (Black Press files)

Patients returning to B.C. hospitals as COVID-19 cases level off

Emergency visits rebounding, scheduled surgeries soon

B.C. hospitals are quieter than they have been in living memory, with more than 4,000 beds cleared in recent weeks for an anticipated surge of COVID-19 patients.

That’s changing, Health Minister Adrian Dix says, as fear of going to hospitals during the coronavirus pandemic has begun to pass. Emergency room visits have begun to pick up again after Dix and provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry began reassuring people that hospital care is still available for those who need it.

Daily emergency visits fell below 3,000 on April 6, less than half what an average day saw in early March. As of April 21, there were 4,015 ER visits, still far below the 6,559 recorded on March 9 before the coronavirus emergency was declared, but rising.

“It’s one of the reasons why Dr. Henry and I have been saying to people that the health care system is there for you,” Dix said at the April 21 briefing. “There are many people struggling with non-COVID-19 related conditions right now, and that system is there for you.”

More than 14,000 scheduled surgeries for everything from cataracts to cancer have been postponed since the pandemic protocol at hospitals took effect March 17, although more than 8,000 scheduled procedures were considered urgent enough to do. The largest category of delayed surgeries is hip and knee replacements.

RELATED: B.C. hospitals getting some scheduled surgeries done

RELATED: Private clinic will help with B.C.’s surgery backlog

Dix and Henry are reluctant to specify when all but the most urgent scheduled surgeries can resume, but senior health ministry officials are working toward early May as long as B.C.’s COVID-19 cases remain low.

Henry said the pending return of scheduled surgeries, thousands of which have been postponed due to the pandemic, means public health orders have to be adjusted to allow urgent dentistry and physiotherapy to resume on a limited basis.

“It’s important to get back to physiotherapy,” Henry said. “It’s important for people who are recovering from those surgeries that are going to start again, for example.”

The number of COVID-19 patients in hospital continues to decline, currently at 109 with 51 in intensive care units.


@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

Comments are closed

Just Posted

PQBeat Podcast: Parksville Mayor Ed Mayne

Talk includes COVID-19, a potential pool for the city and more

B.C. Supreme Court dismisses claim against Island Corridor Foundation

Snaw-Naw-As (Nanoose) First Nation was seeking return of reserve land as railway sits unused

Consultant presents two options for Ravensong pool expansion project in Qualicum Beach

RDN committee defers decision until more information available on Parksville pool plans

13 new B.C. COVID-19 cases, Langley Lodge outbreak ends

Health care outbreaks down to four, 162 cases active

‘Mind boggling’: B.C. man $1 million richer after winning Lotto 6/49 a second time

David O’Brien hopes to use his winnings to travel and of course keep playing the lottery

Seven-foot-tall Nanaimo resident helps man in distress in Departure Bay

Peters able to wade out far enough to help ‘frantic’ man in the water

‘Tarantula moth’ spotted in broad daylight on Vancouver Island

Polyphemus moths are one of the largest insects in B.C.

Two injured hikers airlifted from North Vancouver Island Park

Campbell River and Comox Search and Rescue hoist team rescued the injured from Cape Scott Provincial Park

B.C. teacher loses licence after sexual relationships with two recently-graduated students

The teacher won’t be allowed to apply for a teaching certificate until 2035

Lower Mainland teacher facing child pornography charges

Elazar Reshef, 52, has worked in the Delta School District

Alberta health minister orders review into response after noose found in hospital in 2016

A piece of rope tied into a noose was found taped to the door of an operating room at the Grande Prairie Hospital in 2016

Most Read