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B.C. critical care nurses being redeployed to support COVID cases in Fraser Health

A man wears a protective face mask as he walks past the emergency department of the Royal Columbian Hospital in New Westminster, B.C. Friday, April 3, 2020. Health-care providers are warning of an unseen toll COVID-19 could take if people die because they are too afraid to go to an emergency room for serious health issues unrelated to the pandemic. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward

Eight critical care nurses are being deployed by Provincial Health Services Authority to support COVID-19 cases in the Fraser Health Authority.

The current critical care occupancy and need to redeploy are impacting surgeries in Surrey and Abbotsford and at Royal Columbian hospitals.

There was 15 hours of surgical time disrupted in Surrey, around 15 hours postponed in Abbotsford and 7.5 hours of surgery time postponed at Royal Columbian due to redeployment.

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Hospital occupancy has affected some surgical activity in Vancouver Coastal Health as well, as an estimated eight surgeries were postponed on Monday.

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“We’ve made these adjustments in order to ensure that we have sufficient support for our staff in critical care,” Health Minister Adrian Dix said.

“We’ll continue to monitor the daily occupancy rate and take specific actions to reduce stress on the health system as needed through this redeployment of staff. This will not be like last year where we cancelled, en masse, our scheduled surgeries, but we’ll be targeted and for as short a period as possible.”

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Hospitalizations and ICU numbers continue to climb. On Monday, the province reported 368 people in hospital with COVID-19 and 121 in intensive care.

Dix said there are a total of 11,934 surge hospital beds in the province, and 3,314 of them are vacant. That’s an occupancy rate of 72.2 per cent.

While hospital occupancy across the system is manageable, there is some concern with occupancy of close to 100 per cent in a number of key hospitals. This includes Vancouver General Hospital, Lions Gate Hospital, Surrey Memorial Hospital.

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“This is a real reminder to all of us of how important it is to keep focused on public health orders and public health guidance at this time to reduce transmission,” Dix said.

“The idea of people in critical care who are severely ill from COVID-19 has a profound effect on them and on their families and we think of them today.”

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