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

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Stock photo
Pair’s lawsuit dismissed against Fraser Valley soccer association and churches

Judge in Abbotsford calls claims against 14 defendants ‘an abuse of the court’s process’

The Mennonite Heritage Museum on Clearbrook Road in Abbotsford.
Mennonite Historical Society in Abbotsford seeks input for storytelling project

Digital project asks for stories about living during COVID-19’s ‘changing times’

This image showing the most common areas to be injuried by fireworks was put out by the District of Mission on Oct. 27.
District sends out firework warning ahead of Halloween

Sale, use of fireworks illegal in municipality, Mission Fire Rescue Service reminds citizens

The annual Diwali celebration at the Clarke Theatre in Mission in 2019. / Bob Friesen Photos
District of Mission to start funding community programs at Clarke Theatre

Theatre previously provided most funding by Mission School District

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates the COVID-19 situation, B.C. legislature, Oct. 26, 2020. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 case count jumps by 287, another senior home outbreak

Two more deaths recorded, community outbreak in Okanagan

An untitled Emily Carr painting of Finlayson Point was donated to the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria by brothers Ian and Andrew Burchett. The painting had been in their family for several decades. (Courtesy of the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria)
Never before seen painting by famed B.C. artist Emily Carr gifted to Victoria gallery

Painting among several donated to Art Gallery of Greater Victoria

The B.C. Centre for Disease control is telling people to keep an eye out for the poisonous death cap mushroom, which thrives in fall weather conditions. (Paul Kroeger/BCCDC)
Highly poisonous death cap mushroom discovered in Comox

This marks first discovery on Vancouver Island outside Greater Victoria area

100 Mile Conservation officer Joel Kline gingerly holds an injured but very much alive bald eagle after extracting him from a motorist’s minivan. (Photo submitted)
Rescued bald eagle that came to life in B.C. man’s car had lead poisoning

Bird is on medication and recovering in rehab centre

Janet Austin, lieutenant governor of B.C., was presented with the first poppy of the Royal Canadian Legion’s 2020 Poppy Campaign on Wednesday. (Kendra Crighton/News Staff)
PHOTOS: B.C. Lieutenant Governor receives first poppy to kick off 2020 campaign

Janet Austin ‘honour and a privileged’ to receive the poppy

Premier-elect John Horgan and cabinet ministers are sworn in for the first time at Government House in Victoria, July 18, 2017. (Arnold Lim/Black Press)
Pandemic payments have to wait for B.C. vote count, swearing-in

Small businesses advised to apply even if they don’t qualify

Court of Appeal for British Columbia in Vancouver. (File photo: Tom Zytaruk)
Sex offender who viewed underage girls as slaves has prohibitions cut from 20 to 10 years

Appeal court reviewed the case of Kyler Bryan David Williams, 29

Ranil Prasad saw this poster near Surrey Central SkyTrain station on Monday, Oct. 26, 2020. He said it expressed “some specific reference to white replacement theory.” (Photo: Ranil Prasad/@run_neil/Twitter)
Surrey man urges public to watch out for ‘white replacement theory’ posters

Ranil Prasad said he saw the messaging at a Surrey SkyTrain station

The B.C. Teacher Regulation Branch has issued a decision about the actions of an elementary school teacher in Langley. (Langley Advance Times files)
Langley elementary teacher suspended for grabbing, shoving, yelling at kids

Roxann Rojas will lose her legal authority to teach for two weeks from Oct. 25 to Nov. 7, 2020

Most Read