Healthcare workers in B.C. are rejoining fight against COVID-19

Docs come out of retirement

Dozens of nurses and doctors have come out of retirement in British Columbia to help with what Health Minister Adrian Dix called the most difficult time in the province's history.

During Thursday's daily press conference, Health Minister Adrian Dix said they have had 26 doctors and 248 nurses register in the province to assist with the current health crisis.

“We have more registrants in B.C., people who have come back and registered as doctors and nurses," Dix said. "As well, we have many care aides who have joined and rejoined in support of healthcare facilities in B.C. That demonstrates our shared commitment and the extraordinary commitment of all healthcare workers to the care of people in B.C.”

The announcement comes as another 66 cases of COVID-19 were confirmed in B.C., bringing the total cases in the province to 725. Sixty-two of those cases are in the Interior Health region.

Dix said the coming weeks and months will be very hard on everyone.

"This will be a difficult time, as difficult as we've ever seen as a province, but we know this, if we do what we're asked, if we do what is right, we can take the steps we need to bend the curve, to ensure that all of us have the resources to deal with this really unprecedented in our lifetimes, public health emergency,” he said.

“The actions we take today, matter.”

An additional 37 hospital beds have been freed up in the province over the past 24 hours, bringing the total number of empty hospital beds to 3,903. This was accomplished largely by cancelling elective surgeries, in preparation for a spike in COVID-19 hospitalizations that officials have been warning of for weeks.

There are currently 66 virus patients in hospital, 26 of whom are in the ICU. While the hospitalization rate yet to jump drastically, Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry says the province is still in the early stages of dealing with this crisis.

“We are still very much in the first incubation period from when we started putting in these restrictive measures, so there are people out there who are incubating this disease and we know we've seen transmission,” she said. “So we are not going to see a dramatic change for another five to six days.

“There are many things that can happen; we can have an outbreak in a small community, we can have a hospital outbreak. There are so many scenarios right now, so we take it day by day.”

Dr. Henry said because we are still in the early stages of this pandemic in B.C., people's actions can still impact the virus' spread.

“This is the time where we can make a difference. The physical distancing is something that all of us have to take serious right now because that is our best buffer. It's our fire break, our fire wall, so that we can put out all the little sparks that our happening in our community now.”

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