B.C.’s cancelled surgery total is up to almost 14,000, but the urgent ones are being done in B.C. hospitals along with emergency procedures, Health Minister Adrian Dix says.
Elective surgeries were postponed starting March 17 as B.C. braced for an influx of COVID-19 patients with the coronavirus pandemic moving around the world. Since then 13,938 procedures have been cancelled, but 8,221 have been completed, Dix said. About 4,500 of those were “scheduled urgent surgeries that required action right away,” and the remainder were emergency surgeries such as setting broken legs.
“What these cancellations of surgeries remind us of is the need to be committed ourselves, to be 100 per cent all in on all of the measures that Dr. Henry has put forward,” Dix said in the ministry’s daily update April 14. “Because there are people who are sacrificing a great deal, who did not even choose to sacrifice but are sacrificing now. And that requires of those of us who are sacrificing less than that an absolute commitment.”
The ministry reports that as of April 14, 4,703 acute-care beds that are empty and available for potential COVID-19 patients, a 58.1 per cent occupancy rate across the B.C. hospital system. Critical and intensive care beds are 45.7 per cent occupied, and additional space has been created to move more patients if necessary to a temporary space at the Vancouver Convention Centre and additional beds added at Royal Columbian Hospital.
B.C.’s actual total of hospitalized COVID-19 patients has held steady in recent days, with 134 in acute-care beds as of April 14, and 58 of those in intensive care.
In early April, Dix said some of the growing backlog of elective surgeries will be done under a contract between Fraser Health and the False Creek Surgical Centre in Vancouver.