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

Osoyoos knife-wielding woman wins appeal to reduce sentence

Court of Appeal settled that the sentencing judge erred in principle, and the sentence was unfit

FortisBC offers 90-day bill deferrals to customers impacted by COVID-19

Customers can apply for the relief program through the utility’s website

Online marketplace for downtown Penticton businesses an opportunity to support local

Marketplace will help support local businesses and assist customers in finding goods and services

RCMP pursuit in Okanagan Falls leads to arrest of Penticton man

Seamus Kirby of Penticton is facing numerous charges including flight from police

North Okanagan bands together in support against COVID-19

New group launches website with tools to help endure crisis

WATCH: Salmon Arm artist hosts virtual art show amid COVID-19

Roxi Hermsen’s show “Into the Cosmos” is a tribute to her father Bill Sim

HERGOTT: COVID-19 and ICBC

Paul Hergott is a personal injury lawyer based in West Kelowna

COVID-19: Armstrong gym fined $345 after failure to close

The fitness centre was issued a ticket a day after province ordered all gyms to close

Bus rider who travelled to Golden tests positive for COVID-19

The passenger travelled from Calgary to Golden on March 15

Armed robbery of legal grow-op in Sicamous ends in arrest near Enderby

Residents alarmed over increased police presence Tuesday morning

Wildfire burns out-of-control on Adams Lake band land in the Shuswap

BC Wildfire Service reports Shuswap two-hectare fire is not threatening structures

COVID-19: Vernon homeless shelters combine in curling club

Gateway and Our Place shelter sites housed under one roof amid pandemic

COVID-19: Don’t get away for Easter weekend, Dr. Bonnie Henry warns

John Horgan, Adrian Dix call 130 faith leaders as holidays approach

COVID-19: Trudeau says 30K ventilators on the way; 3.6M Canadians claim benefits

Canada has seen more than 17,000 cases and at least 345 deaths due to COVID-19

Most Read