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

VIDEO: A message from Mission’s mayor

Pam Alexis asks residents to support local businesses, stay strong during COVID-19 pandemic

Mission developers donate $10,ooo, challenge others to donate as well

Gary Toor and Jason Tiegen gve the money to Mission Community Services, hope to raise $20,000

You can design a new banner for Mission’s downtown area

Mission Downtown Business Association is presenting its second annual banner design competition

One woman arrested in Abbotsford on Sunday after stabbing

25-year-old man sent to hospital with serious injuries following incident

B.C. firefighters only responding to most life-threatening calls during COVID-19 pandemic

The directive comes after province spoke with paramedics, fire services, according to top doctor

COVID-19: Trudeau says 30K ventilators on the way; 3.6M Canadians claim benefits

Canada has seen more than 17,000 cases and at least 345 deaths due to COVID-19

COMMENTARY: Knowing where COVID-19 cases are does not protect you

Dr. Bonnie Henry explains why B.C. withholds community names

As Canadians return home amid pandemic, border crossings dip to just 5% of usual traffic

Non-commercial land crossing dipped by 95%, air travel dropped by 96 per cent, according to the CBSA

B.C. wide burning restrictions come into effect April 16

‘Larger open burns pose an unnecessary risk and could detract from wildfire detection’

B.C. secures motel, hotel rooms for COVID-19 shelter space

Community centres, rooms reserved for pandemic self-isolation

Look at hospitalizations, not recovery stats for COVID-19, B.C. professor says

Cases in hospital are a definitive count of people who have the novel coronavirus

B.C. First Nations want to launch fight of Trans Mountain pipeline approval

Last month, the Supreme Court of Canada decided not to hear five challenges about the pipeline

N95 masks on the way for Canada after 3M reaches deal with White House

The Trump White House had ordered 3M to stop shipping masks to Canada

Most Read