Ambulance calls and emergency room visits are down across B.C.

Medical calls down in B.C.

As healthcare workers across the province continue to prepare for an influx of COVID-19 patients, British Columbians appear less interested in going to the hospital.

During Wednesday's daily conference, Health Minister Adrian Dix said the the number of ambulance calls and emergency room visits are down across the province.

“You see that people are using healthcare for other reasons less at the moment, this is for a number of reasons,” Dix said, without elaborating on what those reasons may be.

While the average number of ambulance calls in B.C. before the COVID-19 pandemic was 1,540, Tuesday saw just 1,311.

Even more significantly, while Monday, March 9 saw 6,559 emergency room visits across the province, just three weeks later on Monday, only 3,274 people visited the emergency room.

After the province suspended all elective surgeries, to make space for expected COVID-19 patients, province-wide, hospital beds are at 61 per cent capacity. This means there are 4,192 empty hospital beds in B.C.

“These are very difficult weeks,” Dix said. “Stay with this, there are some signs that the actions we're taking are making a difference ... but we can't stop now.”

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