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COVID-19: No immediate plans for cancelled surgeries in B.C. Interior despite 98% hospital capacity

Click to play video: 'Scheduled surgeries in Lower Mainland cancelled amid rise in COVID-19 hospitalizations' Scheduled surgeries in Lower Mainland cancelled amid rise in COVID-19 hospitalizations
WATCH: Health Minister Adrian Dix announced Thursday that scheduled surgeries at nine Lower Mainland hospitals will be cancelled to ensure surge capacity is protected – Apr 22, 2021

B.C. is seeing unprecedented pressure on the health-care system due to a rise in COVID-19 hospitalizations. However, Interior Health says there are no immediate plans to reschedule elective surgeries.

On Thursday, the province announced it will postpone 1,750 surgeries on the Lower Mainland to reduce the strain on resources.

Read more: B.C. cancels 1,750 scheduled surgeries in Lower Mainland as COVID-19 hospitalizations surge

“The reason we are taking these steps now is to support our health-care workers, especially in critical care. We need to create more resources for them right now in Metro Vancouver,” B.C.’s health minister Adrian Dix said.

Hospital occupancy rates as of April 16, 2021. B.C. government slide

Interior Health said its scheduled surgeries have not been impacted by a rise in COVID-19 hospitalizations.

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Click to play video: 'B.C.’s COVID-19 positivity rate declining  in some hot spots' B.C.’s COVID-19 positivity rate declining in some hot spots
B.C.’s COVID-19 positivity rate declining in some hot spots – Apr 20, 2021

“Interior Health has been operating with our planned surgical slate over the last number of weeks. We have not had interruptions to date, although what I will qualify is where we had very targeted outbreak scenarios we did make some changes with surgery, but given our current occupancy, that has not led to changes with our planned surgical cases across Interior Health,” said Karen Bloemink, interim vice-president of Pandemic Response and Surgical Strategy.

Read more: Four COVID-19 deaths, 1,006 new cases in B.C. as number in hospital tops 500

In Interior Health, hospitals are operating at 98.1-per cent capacity and B.C. Interior hospitals are using 22.5 per cent of surge bed capacity, the highest rate in the province, according to data provided on Monday by the provincial government.

Click to play video: 'A plea from B.C. nurses as the province wrestles with a third wave of COVID-19' A plea from B.C. nurses as the province wrestles with a third wave of COVID-19
A plea from B.C. nurses as the province wrestles with a third wave of COVID-19 – Apr 20, 2021

“This time of year is typically a busy time for our hospitals. We do typically see higher occupancy rates within our hospitals, and I would reassure you that we are watching our occupancy across the board on a daily basis and would be moving to make changes as necessary relating to staffing to make sure the services we need to be providing to the public are available,” Bloemink said.

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Critical care unit occupancy rates in B.C. hospitals as of April 16, 2021. B.C. government slide

There are 29 vacant ICU beds in the B.C. Interior, when factoring in base beds and surge capacity. B.C. Interior hospitals have 236 regular hospital beds available.

Read more: Kelowna anti-mask, anti-vaccine gym ordered closed

Four B.C. Interior hospitals are under pressure, operating at or above 95-per cent base bed capacity, including Kelowna General Hospital, Penticton Regional Hospital, Royal Inland Hospital in Kamloops, and Kootenay Boundary Regional Hospital.

Click to play video: 'Most B.C. health regions edging closer to full occupancy of hospital beds' Most B.C. health regions edging closer to full occupancy of hospital beds
Most B.C. health regions edging closer to full occupancy of hospital beds – Apr 19, 2021

The province still has extra ventilators available, with B.C. hospitals utilizing 29 per cent of the provincial fleet; 178 vents are in use and 435 vents are not in use.

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A record-high 502 people are in hospital province-wide with the disease, 161 of whom are in intensive care.

In the B.C. Interior, 32 people are hospitalized with COVID-19, including 11 patients in critical care.

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