B.C.’s hospitals still have thousands of empty beds in case of COVID surge

B.C.’s hospitals still have thousands of empty beds in case of COVID surge

Interior Health at 94 per cent capacity; Fraser Health at 64 per cent

As flu season approaches, and as worries continue about the potential for more COVID-19 cases, most of British Columbia’s hospitals continue to have in-patient beds at the ready.

The province’s hospitals were operating at 76 per cent capacity as of Sept. 28, according to numbers provided to The News by the Ministry of Health. That means there are more than 2,600 free acute-care beds available and unoccupied.

And while that is almost half as many available free beds than in late March, it still gives B.C. dramatically more wiggle room than before COVID-19 hit. It’s also more than three times the number of people who have been hospitalized in B.C. with COVID-19 throughout the pandemic. As of Oct. 1, 69 people in B.C. were in hospital with COVID-19. A total of 779 people had spent any time in hospital for COVID since January.

Before this year’s pandemic, B.C.’s hospital system had operated at 103 per cent capacity, meaning that at any one time, dozens of patients around the province were situated in makeshift “surge” beds and locations.

But in March, as COVID-19 began to sweep across the globe, the province focused on moving thousands of people out of hospital to ensure there was space for a potential surge in new cases. That was driven, in part, by the experience of places like Italy and New York City, where health systems were overwhelmed, leading to high death rates when only a portion of those with the virus could get medical help.

In B.C., those moved out of hospital included thousands of patients who occupied hospital beds while waiting for care alternatives to be set up in the community. Thousands of non-urgent surgeries were also cancelled, freeing up beds that would otherwise be occupied by recovering patients.

IN DEPTH: How B.C. emptied its hospitals to prepare for COVID-19

Critically, the province has also opened thousands of new beds. That has enabled it to have space prepared in hospitals, even as non-urgent surgeries have been re-started and accelerated to resolve the backlog created by this spring’s stoppage.

Nineteen larger hospitals have been chosen as primary sites where COVID-19 patients are treated.

Do you have something to add to this story, or something else we should report on? Email:
tolsen@abbynews.com


@ty_olsen
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Sept. 30 occupancy by health authority
Infogram

Just Posted

A tent housing a mobile vaccination clinic. (Interior Health/Contributed)
Second dose vaccinations accelerating throughout region: Interior Health

To date, more than 675,000 doses have been administered throughout the region

Okanagan Lake (File photo)
Thompson-Okanagan ready to welcome back tourists

The Thompson-Okanagan Tourism Association expects this summer to be a busy one

Aerial view of a wildfire at 16 Mile, 11 kilometres northwest of Cache Creek, that started on the afternoon of June 15. (Photo credit: BC Wildfire Service)
Wildfire at 16 Mile now being held

Wildfire started on the afternoon of June 15 at 16 Mile, east of Highway 97

The Desert Daze Music Festival is doggone good fun, as shown in this photo from the 2019 festival, and it will be back in Spences Bridge this September. (Photo credit: Barbara Roden)
‘Best Little Fest in the West’ returning to Spences Bridge

Belated 10th anniversary Desert Daze festival going ahead with music, vendors, workshops, and more

Internet speed graphic, no date. Photo credit: Pixabay
Study asks for public input to show actual internet speeds in B.C. communities

Federal maps showing Internet speeds might be inflated, so communities lose out on faster Internet

People line up to get their COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination centre, Thursday, June 10, 2021 in Montreal. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Vaccines, low COVID case counts increase Father’s Day hope, but risk is still there

Expert says people will have to do their own risk calculus before popping in on Papa

FILE – A science class at L.A. Matheson Secondary in Surrey, B.C. on March 12, 2021. (Lauren Collins/Surrey Now Leader)
Teachers’ union wants more COVID transmission data as B.C. prepares for back-to-school

BCTF says that details will be important as province works on plan for September

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry outlines B.C.’s COVID-19 restart plan, May 25, 2021, including larger gatherings and a possible easing of mandatory masks on July 1. (B.C. government photo)
B.C. records 120 new COVID-19 cases, second vaccines accelerating

Lower Pfizer deliveries for early July, Moderna shipments up

A Heffley Creek peacock caught not one - but two - lifts on a logging truck this month. (Photo submitted)
Heffley Creek-area peacock hops logging trucks in search of love

Peacock hitched two lifts in the past month

The Calgary skyline is seen on Friday, Sept. 15, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
2 deaths from COVID-19 Delta variant in Alberta, 1 patient was fully immunized

Kerry Williamson with Alberta Health Services says the patients likely acquired the virus in the hospital

The first suspension bridge is the tallest in Canada, with a second suspension bridge just below it. The two are connected by a trail that’s just over 1 km. (Claire Palmer photo)
PHOTOS: The highest suspension bridges in Canada just opened in B.C.

The Skybridge in Golden allows visitors to take in views standing at 130 and 80 metres

BC Green Party leader and Cowichan Valley MLA Sonia Furstenau introduced a petition to the provincial legislature on Thursday calling for the end of old-growth logging in the province. (File photo)
BC Green leader Furstenau introduces old-growth logging petition

Party calls for the end of old-growth logging as protests in Fairy Creek continue

B.C. Premier John Horgan leaves his office for a news conference in the legislature rose garden, June 3, 2020. (B.C. government photo)
B.C. premier roasted for office budget, taxing COVID-19 benefits

Youth addiction law that triggered election hasn’t appeared

A vial containing the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine is shown at a vaccination site in Marcq en Baroeul, outside Lille, northern France, Saturday, March 20, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Michel Spingler
mRNA vaccines ‘preferred’ for all Canadians, including as 2nd dose after AstraZeneca: NACI

New recommendations prioritizes Pfizer, Moderna in almost all cases

Most Read