Arrow Lakes Hospital’s emergency rooms are now under renovation, limiting even further how many people could be supported when the coronavirus hits Nakusp. Photo: John Boivin

Don’t let system get overwhelmed by COVID-19, urges Nakusp doctors

Stay isolated, stay safe, the system can be easily pushed over limit, they say

Doctors in Nakusp are warning residents to protect themselves from the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

While there’s no sign of the virus in the Arrow Lakes area yet, they say it won’t take much for the system here to get overloaded when it does arrive.

Nakusp, says one doctor, has limited resources to manage the virus’ spread.

“The virus is out there, it is going to spread, it is going to go through our communities,” says Dr. Craig Courchesne, a doctor with the Saddle Mountain Medical Clinic. “The key thing now is preventing a very rapid spike in cases that will overwhelm our medical system.”

Courchesne and the village’s other doctors issued a joint statement on Facebook Monday, asking residents not to run to the doctor if they simply feel ill from a flu.

While there is increasing concern about the virus, the doctors say not everyone is going to get tested if they are stuffed up or have a headache.

“The only people we are testing now are people sick enough that they need to be hospitalized, health care workers and people in residential facilities,” he says. “We don’t want anyone coming to the clinic or hospital for testing if they are having minor respiratory symptoms because that will put more people at risk.”

Local treatment limited

Courchesne notes that testing doesn’t really help control or stop the spread of the virus on the ground.

“Right now it is purely academic,” he notes. “It doesn’t change the course of action of the virus, and it doesn’t change what we can do for people. It just gives data of where the virus is.

“So for our community, they’re not doing any favours for themselves or others to come in and have testing done.”

Courchesne also points out there’s no treatment for the illness, especially for mild or moderate cases.

Should there be a case of the virus that requires medical treatment, Courchesne says it’s most likely the patient would be medevaced to Trail, Kelowna or another major centre.

“And even in Trail, we have seven ICU beds, so I can tell you how quickly those will fill up,” he says.

SEE: Three more COVID-19 deaths at BC care home, as number of cases grows to 103

Courchesne points out Arrow Lakes Hospital is already working under reduced capacity.

“Because of our construction we have very limited capacity,” he says. “We are not able to put anyone on ventilators… and I think we have two open in-patient beds at the hospital right now. Overwhelming us would be incredibly easy to do.”

His advice for anyone concerned: isolate yourself.

“Do not congregate in groups, don’t visit anyone or have visitors,” he says. His biggest concern is for seniors.

“There’s no immunity to this virus right now,” he says. “It will spread around, and it’s a problem in the over-70 population where the mortality is higher.”

SEE: Complete Black Press coverage of the COVID-19 pandemic

But, Courchesne emphasizes, there is no need for panic.

“People need to be aware of things that put them at risk, and things that are safe to do,” he says.

You can find more information on what’s safe at the BC Centre for Disease Control’s website.

Locally, Courchesne’s clinic has begun taking phone appointments to keep as many people at home as possible.



reporter@rosslandnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Coronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

Arrow Lakes Hospital’s emergency rooms are now under renovation, limiting even further how many people could be supported when the coronavirus hits Nakusp. Photo: John Boivin

Just Posted

Q&A: Interior Health CEO answers questions on COVID-19 response

Susan Brown, president and CEO of Interior Health, answers questions regarding COVID-19

School District 20 to improve childcare services for those working in emergency services

The district has launched a survey to aid in the consultation process

Air Canada extends suspension of flights in and out of West Kootenay Regional Airport until April 30

It’s still unknown if flights will resume at Castlegar’s airport on May 1

Scholarship up for grabs for Rossland art students

The $250 scholarship is being provided by the Rossland Council for Arts and Culture

COVID-19 adds worry and unexpected costs to Castlegar woman’s cancer fight

Community fundraiser raises $9,000 for Jennifer Rodrigues’ family

B.C. couple celebrates 61st anniversary through seniors’ home window

Frank and Rena Phillips marked occasion at Nanaimo Seniors Village this week while social distancing

A look at some of the B.C. inventors creating life-saving tools in fight against COVID-19

Groups across B.C. are working together to create what they hope will help people affected by the pandemic

Association launches French-language games, online tools for families learning at home

Games, culture and vocabulary included in new virtual resources

‘There can be no ambiguity’: Travellers brought home to B.C. must self-isolate

Health Minister Adrian Dix said the mandatory isolation must be abided by

Interior Health confirms five additional cases in Okanagan COVID-19 outbreak

The total amount of confirmed cases at Bylands Nurseries Ltd. is 19; no further cases expected

55+ BC Games cancelled amid COVID-19 concerns

Greater Victoria set to host 2021 event

ANKORS East Kootenay details concerns surrounding harm reduction amid COVID-19

Harm reduction providers are having to keep up with rapidly changing situation

BC Hydro offers three-month bill ‘holiday’ for those affected by COVID-19

Industrial customers can defer half of their power bills

Some April Fool’s Day jokes bring much-needed laughter; others tone deaf to COVID-19

Police are warning the public not to use the ongoing pandemic as a punchline

Most Read