B.C. prepares for potential respiratory virus hospitalization surge

Preparing for potential surge

Hundreds of patients in B.C. hospitals could be moved to community care to make space for possible COVID and influenza patients as the province moves into respiratory virus season.

During Wednesday's update on B.C.'s COVID-19 situation, Health Minister Adrian Dix said the province is currently identifying patients who are currently being treated in hospital who may not require actual hospitalization.

“Of the currently admitted patients, approximately 1,300 of them could be cared for in the community and 500 are awaiting care home placements,” Dix noted.

Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said the province could see an additional 700 COVID-19 patients moving into the winter months, along with another 1,200 influenza patients, based on the influenza season this year in the southern hemisphere.

While these projections are a "worst-case scenario," Dix said it's important to prepare for the worst when it comes to protecting the province's healthcare system.

He said transferring patients to community care will look different in different areas of the province.

“There is capacity in other care homes around B.C., so that's on the care home side,” he said. “But the most important side of that is supports in the community to support patients who might be discharged from hospital, but must receive outstanding care.”

He added that in the worst-case scenario, the province could once again postpone “non-urgent, scheduled surgeries” as a last resort. This has been done several times throughout the pandemic in B.C.

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