Hallway used for patient overflow at Surrey Memorial Hospital, 2016. B.C. has cleared 40 per cent of its acute care beds to make way for COVID-19 patients. (Black Press Media files)

Hallway used for patient overflow at Surrey Memorial Hospital, 2016. B.C. has cleared 40 per cent of its acute care beds to make way for COVID-19 patients. (Black Press Media files)

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

B.C.’s health ministry has been updating its most telling public indicator of its “worst case scenario” for serious COVID-19 cases, by holding more than 4,000 acute-care hospital beds open even as its hospitalized cases are holding steady at fewer than 150.

Hospital bed occupancy in B.C. has run at more than 100 per cent for many years, with overflow systems for surgery and other patients. As of April 6 the bed occupancy was 58.8 per cent, with 4,422 beds available, and 53.3 per cent of critical care and intensive care unit beds were occupied.

Postponing thousands of elective surgeries has helped clear hospital capacity, as has a significant drop in the number of patients coming into emergency rooms. There were 2,995 ER patients on April 5, fewer than half of the cases recorded in B.C. hospitals on March 9, Health Minister Adrian Dix said.

There were 140 people in hospital with COVID-19 related illness as of April 6. “That’s slightly above Sunday when it was 137, and slightly below Saturday when it was 149,” Dix said.

By region, there were 63 hospitalized patients in Fraser Health, 49 in Vancouver Coastal, 13 in Interior Health, 11 in Island Health and four in the Northern Health Authority.

RELATED: Recovery rate tops 60%, active B.C. cases now at 444

RELATED: B.C. opens submissions for COVID-19 research fund

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry acknowledged that B.C.’s newly detected cases are slowing down, with 26 positive tests as of April 4 and another 37 on April 5. She credited early moves by B.C. to restrict community contact.

“It’s very hard to know exactly why,” Henry said. “We took a lot of measures quite early. We were one of the first provinces to have cases here, and we spent a lot of time doing wide testing, and putting out those sparks that were related to people coming in from other countries and bringing this disease with them.

“Some parts of it are luck, and some parts of it are being prepared, but we were able to, I believe, not have a lot of community spread before we recognized that we had some community transmission and put on the very restrictive measures just prior to our March break.”


@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

Rossland council encourages everyone to support locals only recommendations. Photo: Jim Bailey.
Rossland council promotes ‘Locals Only’ inititative

Rossland mayor encourages people to restrict travel and enjoy what your home has to offer

Caroline Lafond is a Recreation Fish and Wildlife student at Selkirk College. Photo: Submitted
Ecological Comment: Help keep the goats of Gimli wild

A column written by Recreation Fish and Wildlife students at Selkirk College

The West Kootenay Timberwolves received $1535 in relief funding. Photo: Submitted
Three Rossland sports groups receive provincial funding

28 sports groups across the Kootenay will be receiving money from the Local Sport Relief Fund

Kootenay Columbia Teachers’ Union president Andy Davidoff. Photo: Jennifer Small
An open letter to Premier Horgan and Minister Whiteside: Let’s stop harming our children during a pandemic

A letter from Andrew Davidoff, President Kootenay Columbia Teachers’ Union

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic January 7, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Employers might be able to require COVID-19 vaccination from employees: B.C. lawyer

‘An employer must make the case’ using expert science, explains lawyer David Mardiros

Terrance Josephson of the Princeton Posse, at left, and Tyson Conroy of the Summerland Steam clash during a Junior B hockey game at the Summerland Arena in the early spring of 2020. (John Arendt - Summerland Review)
QUIZ: How much do you know about hockey?

Test your knowledge of Canada’s national winter sport

Wet’suwet’en supporters and Coastal GasLink opponents continue to protest outside the B.C. Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Thursday, February 27, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
‘We’re still in it’: Wet’suwet’en push forward on rights recognition

The 670-km Coastal GasLink pipeline was approved by B.C. and 20 elected First Nations councils on its path

Jennifer Cochrane, a Public Health Nurse with Prairie Mountain Health in Virden, administers the COVID-19 vaccine to Robert Farquhar with Westman Regional Laboratory, during the first day of immunizations at the Brandon COVID-19 vaccination supersite in Brandon, Man., on Monday, January 18, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Tim Smith - POOL
Top doctor urges Canadians to keep up with COVID measures, even as vaccines roll out

More than 776,606 vaccines have been administered so far

Dr. Jerome Leis and Dr. Lynfa Stroud are pictured at Sunnybrook Hospital in Toronto on Thursday, January 21, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
‘It wasn’t called COVID at the time:’ One year since Canada’s first COVID-19 case

The 56-year-old man was admitted to Toronto’s Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre

An Uber driver’s vehicle is seen after the company launched service, in Vancouver, Friday, Jan. 24, 2020. Several taxi companies have lost a court bid to run Uber and Lyft off the road in British Columbia. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Taxi companies lose court bid to quash Uber, Lyft approvals in British Columbia

Uber said in a statement that the ruling of the justice is clear and speaks for itself

A 75-year-old aircraft has been languishing in a parking lot on the campus of the University of the Fraser Valley, but will soon be moved to the B.C. Aviation Museum. (Paul Henderson/ Chilliwack Progress)
Vintage military aircraft moving from Chilliwack to new home at B.C. Aviation Museum

The challenging move to Vancouver Island will be documented by Discovery Channel film crews

A video posted to social media by Chilliwack resident Rob Iezzi shows a teenager getting kicked in the face after being approached by three suspects on Friday, Jan. 22, 2021. (YouTube/Rob i)
VIDEO: Security cameras capture ‘just one more assault’ near B.C. high school

Third high-school related assault captured by Chilliwack resident’s cameras since beginning of 2021

FILE - In this Feb. 14, 2017, file photo, Oklahoma State Rep. Justin Humphrey prepares to speak at the State Capitol in Oklahoma City. A mythical, ape-like creature that has captured the imagination of adventurers for decades has now become the target of Rep. Justin Humphrey. Humphrey, a Republican House member has introduced a bill that would create a Bigfoot hunting season, He says issuing a state hunting license and tag could help boost tourism. (Steve Gooch/The Oklahoman via AP, File)
Oklahoma lawmaker proposes ‘Bigfoot’ hunting season

A Republican House member has introduced a bill that would create a Bigfoot hunting season

Economic Development and Official Languages Minister Melanie Joly responds to a question in the House of Commons Monday November 23, 2020 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Federal minister touts need for new B.C. economic development agency

Last December’s federal economic update promised a stimulus package of about $100 billion this year

Most Read