Lower Mainland hospitals are following the lead of Kelowna and Kamloops in postponing surgeries as COVID-19 cases continue to put pressure on a health care system struggling with staff shortages and high patient demand.
A spike in Interior Health coronavirus cases has also shown up particularly in the Fraser Health region, prompting the reallocation of medical resources at Surrey Memorial, Abbotsford Regional and Royal Columbian Hospital, the regional referral centre for Fraser Health, Health Minister Adrian Dix said Thursday. Surgery delays and reassigment of staff is also underway at Vancouver General Hospital.
Dix continued to urge people to get vaccinated against COVID-19, emphasizing that with 130 people currently in intensive care in B.C. hospitals, 111 are unvaccinated and none of those under 50 in intensive care are fully vaccinated.
The response to B.C.’s vaccination card program for entertainment and sports activities has been “extraordinary,” Dix said. Less than three days after the B.C. vaccine card was launched, more than 1.1 million people have downloaded the pass that allows access to movies, restaurants, pubs, indoor fitness and recreation as well as ticketed indoor sports events as well as weddings and other organized events that remain capped at no more than 50 people.
Asked about the prospect of more protests at hospitals next week as B.C.’s vaccine card program takes effect, Dix said the province’s health professionals are providing some of the best care in the world, and they need support rather than the protests that targeted them last week.
“There is nothing heroic in presenting a target for COVID-19,” he said. “There is nothing altruistic in attracting its infectious aim. There is nothing gained by anyone.”
B.C. health authorities continue to operate appointment-based and walk-in clinics around the province. A full list of clinic locations and hours by region can be found here. Registration and booking appointments in B.C. can be done here, or by calling 1-833-838-2323 between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. seven days a week.