An Okanagan doctor says Vernon’s only hospital is being strained by COVID-19 patients.
The doctor, who spoke to Global News on terms of confidentiality, claims that most of Vernon Jubilee Hospital’s intensive-care beds are being occupied by patients with COVID-19.
The doctor said “things are as busy as we’ve ever been. I don’t think people in Vernon realize how this fourth wave is really putting a strain on the local hospital.”
The doctor continued, saying, “I think people need to go, as an extra piece of encouragement, get vaccinated, to observe public health rules.”
The doctor said the hospital currently has around 24 COVID patients, though there were 31 patients on Tuesday.
According to the doctor, the hospital has 12 intensive care beds, and that nine are currently occupied by COVID-19 patients.
The influx of extra patients, said the doctor, has resulted in non-urgent surgeries being cancelled.
Global News reached out to Interior Health regarding COVID patients at the three largest hospitals in the Okanagan: Kelowna General Hosptial, Vernon Jubilee and Penticton Regional Hospital.
In an email, Interior Health said public information on COVID-19-related hospitalizations and ICU patients is available on the BC Centre for Disease Control website.
Notably, though, Interior Health said “unfortunately, individual hospitals are not reported, the numbers are constantly fluctuating as the hospital network supports neighbouring sites and communities.”
On Friday, the Interior Health region had 230 new cases of COVID-19 with 47 in hospital and 37 in critical care.
Global News asked the doctor about Wednesday’s protest rally outside Kelowna General Hospital, where more than 1,000 people gathered to voice opposition to mandatory vaccinations for some health-care workers in B.C., as well as vaccine passports.
Detractors of the divisive rally say it was held in the wrong location.
“Staff at the Kelowna General Hospital have provided our communities and region with exemplary service and deserve our gratitude and respect, not what they received at their doorstep on Wednesday,” Mel Arnold, the Conservative MP for North Okanagan-Shuswap, told Global News on Saturday.
“Freedom of expression is vital to our democracy; however, citizens wishing to demonstrate their rejection of a policy should direct their actions towards decision-makers responsible for that policy.”
The doctor agreed, stating, “I feel similar to what most health-care workers have said. It’s kind of strange that they would do the protest at the hospital, especially when the hospital is under considerable strain with COVID.
“I can understand if people are upset, even if I don’t agree with them. This is Canada; people should make their views known. But I don’t think that was the most productive or appropriate way to do it.”