VICTORIA, B.C. – Health Minister Adrian Dix is calling the surgical renewal progress ‘a remarkable story of achievement’.

Around 90 per cent of surgeries that were backlogged due to the COVID-19 pandemic were performed by November, officials said in a statement Wednesday.

A total of 93,000 patients were waiting for surgeries after the postponement on March 16, which included over 32,000 surgeries backlogged due to non-essential procedures being cancelled.

The ministry said a total 163,696 people received surgeries between May 18 and November 22nd. This included around 29,000 of the postponed surgeries.

“We launched B.C.’s commitment to surgical renewal in May. Since then, learning and adaptation have occurred each step of the way. These are significant achievements and our work will continue to build on this progress in the winter-to-spring period,” Dix said.

The statement on Wednesday says over 7,900 additional operating room hours have been held in B.C facilities compared to the same time in 2019.

Dix’s original timeline of two years has been reduced to 15 months in order to clear the backlogged surgeries accumulated.

More health care workers were hired— a total of 755 surgical staff— since April 1st, and surgeons were asked to extend working hours to deal with the issue.

The government has allocated $187.5 million to support efforts for surgical renewal.