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

OBITUARY: Sherrold Haddad brought giant Canadian flag to Surrey car dealership, built community

‘An amazing man, business person and community leader,’ friend Bruce Hayne posted to Facebook

COVID-19: Daily update on the pandemic in Surrey, White Rock, Delta and beyond

MARCH 28: Delta council passes bylaw to fine people who don’t socially distance

White Rock council members stand by decision to close pier

Minimal push-back over closure to minimize chance of spreading COVID-19 virus

From lockdown in Italy to self-isolation in South Surrey

Like many returning citizens, Peninsula-raised James Bogart & Emily Schenk have a long journey ahead

Blue ribbons popping up along streets in Abbotsford in praise of B.C. healthcare workers

Healthcare worker’s family starts local trend of morale support

B.C. is seeing the highest rate of COVID-19 recovery in Canada, and there’s a few reasons why

British Columbia was one of the first to see rise in COVID-19 cases, and has also switched up testing

Earth Hour 2020 kicks off online Saturday night

Action moves online due to COVID-19

B.C. COVID-19 cases rise 92 to 884, one more death, 81 in care

Outbreak action underway in 12 long-term care homes

B.C. veterinarians want to smooth the fur of COVID-19-worried pet owners

Vets expect to continue giving your fur buddies the help they need while social distancing

B.C. VIEWS: Small businesses need our help

Just as integral in neighbourhoods in Vancouver and Surrey as they are in Prince George or Kelowna

‘Tremendous’ response from blood donors has supply keeping pace with demand

About 400,000 of Canada’s 37 million residents give blood on a regular basis

Most Read

l -->