Dr. Bonnie Henry is urging northern residents to “go back to the basics” amid a surge in COVID-19 cases and patients being transferred to southern B.C. hospitals due to critical care beds being at capacity in the north.
In Tuesday’s COVID-19 update, Health Minister Adrian Dix says 55 critical care patients have been transferred from Northern health to hospitals in the south.
Of those, 43 are positive with COVID-19, 42 are not vaccinated and 14 were transferred during the Thanksgiving weekend to ICU beds in Island Health, Fraser Health Authority and Vancouver Coastal Health Authority.
Dix called the situation in the Northern Health region “extremely serious”, saying usually there are enough beds to meet all demands with 40 beds. An additional 23 surge beds have been made available to support the increase in patients.
“COVID-19 is spreading at a higher than average rate, people are becoming severely ill —even young people, mostly unvaccinated— and hospitals are pushed to the limit across the north,” said Henry.
The provincial health officer and her colleagues are concerned with what they see in the north. Henry says she is working with Northern Health to determine what additional measures are needed to “break the chains of transmissions”.
“This is directly related to the vaccination rates in the communities where people are living communities with lower rates of immunization have higher rates of spreading the illness and the risk for everybody that goes on. ”
Henry put a call out to residents, especially in the north, to go “back to basics” to prevent virus transmission.
“We need to ensure we’re using all of the layers of protection we have available. That means washing your hands regularly staying home when you’re unwell. Wearing your mask, particularly when you’re around other people who are more vulnerable. And in indoor public spaces, keeping a safe distance from others and also getting vaccinated. ”
The Province is looking at whether booster shots will be needed in certain communities to manage outbreaks, said Henry.
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