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

Interior Health update. File photo.
86 new COVID-19 cases, two more deaths in Interior Health

The new deaths are from Heritage Square, a long-term care facility in Vernon

A power outage Thursday night left nearly 3,000 homes in Clinton and the 70 Mile areas in the dark. (Katie McCullough photo).
Updated: Clinton, 70 Mile left in the dark after vehicle crashes into transmission pole

BC Hydro still working to restore power to 330 homes in 70 Mile House

A woman wearing a protective face mask to curb the spread of COVID-19 walks past a mural in Victoria, B.C., on Monday, Dec. 7, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Marissa Tiel
115 new COVID-19 cases, no new deaths in Interior Health

There are now a total of 4,970 cases in the region

Community consultation is now open regarding disposal of the former Ashcroft Elementary property, which since 2015 has operated as the Ashcroft HUB. (Photo credit: Vicci Weller)
Feedback now sought regarding disposal of Ashcroft Elementary

Residents of the region can have their say about the future of the former AES property

A scene from “Canada and the Gulf War: In their own words,” a video by The Memory Project, a program of Historica Canada, is shown in this undated illustration. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO - Historica Canada
New video marks Canada’s contributions to first Gulf War on 30th anniversary

Veterans Affairs Canada says around 4,500 Canadian military personnel served during the war

A 17-year-old snowmobiler used his backcountry survival sense in preparation to spend the night on the mountain near 100 Mile House Saturday, Jan. 16, 2021 after getting lost. (South Cariboo Search and Rescue Facebook photo)
Teen praised for backcountry survival skills after getting lost in B.C.’s Cariboo mountains

“This young man did everything right after things went wrong.”

Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole holds a press conference on Parliament Hill, in Ottawa on December 10, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
No place for ‘far right’ in Conservative Party, Erin O’Toole says

O’Toole condemned the Capitol attack as ‘horrifying’ and sought to distance himself and the Tories from Trumpism

A passer by walks in High Park, in Toronto, Thursday, Jan. 14, 2021. This workweek will kick off with what’s fabled to be the most depressing day of the year, during one of the darkest eras in recent history. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young
‘Blue Monday’ getting you down? Exercise may be the cure, say experts

Many jurisdictions are tightening restrictions to curb soaring COVID-19 case counts

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Toronto on Thursday, January 7, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
COVID-19: Provinces work on revised plans as Pfizer-BioNTech shipments to slow down

Anita Anand said she understands and shares Canadians’ concerns about the drug company’s decision

Tourists take photographs outside the British Columbia Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Friday August 26, 2011. A coalition of British Columbia tourism industry groups is urging the provincial government to not pursue plans to ban domestic travel to fight the spread of COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. travel ban will harm struggling tourism sector, says industry coalition

B.C. government would have to show evidence a travel ban is necessary

(Phil McLachlan - Capital News)
‘Targeted’ shooting in Coquitlam leaves woman in hospital

The woman suffered non-life threatening injuries in what police believe to be a targeted shooting Saturday morning

JaHyung Lee, “Canada’s oldest senior” at 110 years old, received his first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine on Thursday, Jan. 14, 2021. He lives at Amenida Seniors Community in Newton. (Submitted photo: Amenida Seniors Community)
A unique-looking deer has been visiting a Nanoose Bay property with its mother. (Frieda Van der Ree photo)
A deer with 3 ears? Unique animal routinely visits B.C. property

Experts say interesting look may be result of an injury rather than an odd birth defect

Most Read