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Coronavirus: Interior Health postponing non-urgent surgeries

The regional health body says it is preparing in case area hospitals see a rapid increase in COVID-19 cases, but added that urgent and emergency procedures will not be impacted. Klaudia Van Emmerik / Global News

Surgeries that aren’t urgent are being immediately postponed, the Interior Health Authority announced on Wednesday morning.

Interior Health said the postponements are in response to the coronavirus pandemic, and that it is working in partnership with the Ministry of Health and the BC Centre for Disease Control to help combat COVID-19.

The regional body said patients with scheduled surgeries will be contacted by Interior Health or by their surgeon’s office, while adding patients should wait to be contacted about their procedure.

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“Along with other agencies and health authorities, IH has pandemic plans in place and is prepared to adjust capacity as required,” said Interior Health.

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“As part of this planning, and following direction from the Ministry of Health on March 16, IH will immediately begin postponing non-urgent scheduled surgeries. It is important to note that urgent and emergency procedures will not be impacted.”

Interior Health said it will assess the postponements over the coming weeks and will advise patients when their procedure has been rebooked.

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It added that some surgeries, including those related to cancer and scheduled caesarean sections, will not be impacted.

“IH recognizes the significant impact of postponing surgeries,” said Interior Health. “However, this is a necessary step to ensure we have enough hospital capacity for those affected by COVID-19, should we see a rapid increase in demand like other countries have experienced.”

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