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Most patients transferred from north came to Island Health facilities; surgeries cancelled

Island Health has received the largest number of ICU patient transfers from the north and the highest number of cancelled surgeries of all the health authorities in recent weeks, according to figures released by B.C.

Island Health has received the largest number of ICU patient transfers from the north and the highest number of cancelled surgeries of all the health authorities in recent weeks, according to figures released by B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix on Tuesday.

Of the 32 patients transferred from intensive care units across Northern Health since Sept. 5, 22 were taken to Island Health facilities, Dix said. The rest were transferred to Fraser Health and Vancouver Coastal Health on the Lower Mainland.

“Twenty-two of them came to Vancouver Island, which is a long way from Vanderhoof and from Smithers and from Pouce Coupe and Dawson Creek and Fort St. John and Prince George,” Dix said at a news conference.

Of the 32 transfers, 26 were unvaccinated COVID-19 patients.

The influx of COVID patients in B.C. hospitals has resulted in cancelled and postponed surgeries.

Between Sept. 26 and Oct. 2, 157 surgeries were cancelled in the Island Health region, along with 16 in Fraser Health, 56 in Interior Health, one in Northern Health, and 11 in Vancouver Coastal Health.

From Sept. 5 to Oct. 2, 1,384 surgeries were postponed across the province.

“It is obviously not desirable to be deferring surgeries and other procedures in the health-care system to deal with the situation,” Dix said. “The people we’re relying on to deliver surgeries are … counting on all of us to stop the spread so they can do their critical work.”

The COVID-19 bed situation is being managed in B.C., he said, “but it is not in a good way when you have to make the kinds of decisions we’ve had to make.”

Dix said every patient who has had their surgery delayed amid the pandemic’s fourth wave will soon receive a phone call to reschedule. “Every one of these surgeries is important, and we all need to do our part.”

B.C. reported 593 new cases of COVID‑19 on Tuesday, bringing total active cases in the province to 5,937. There are 345 with COVID in hospital, of whom 144 are in intensive care units.

In Island Health, 107 new cases were reported for a total of 723 active cases.

There are 19 outbreaks in B.C. heath care facilities, including one at Victoria Chinatown Care Centre in Island Health.

No new COVID deaths were announced Tuesday.

ceharnett@timescolonist.com