KGH is preparing for an influx of COVID-19 patients

KGH prepares for influx

Hospitals around the province are preparing for increasing numbers of COVID-19 patients, and Kelowna General Hospital is no different.

On Tuesday, Health Minister Adrian Dix said by cancelling elective surgeries and moving “alternate level of care” patients from hospitals to other facilities, they've freed up 3,866 hospital beds around the province in preparation for COVID-19 patients.

While Interior Health says they “have not had an influx of patients to our hospitals at this time,” staff at KGH have been identifying additional hospital space if required, and running mock scenarios to prepare for an increase in COVID-19 patients.

“All staff members are properly advised on how to provide care, while preventing the spread of COVID-19,” said Susan Duncan, Interior Health communications. “The entire health care team at Kelowna General Hospital is actively participating in preparedness activities to ensure we can support the residents of Central Okanagan."

Additionally, KGH staff are using enhanced screening techniques for people who enter the hospital, and using dedicated entrances into the building for those suspected of having the virus.

The hospital is also ready to segregate COVID-19 patients, as part of their “pandemic preparedness planning.”

While the average occupancy rate of hospitals province-wide is 66 per cent, IH hospitals are just under 75 per cent at this time.

"The changes we have had to make have impacted individuals, particularly those waiting for elective surgeries, and we know this has been difficult for them," said Duncan. "This was an important step in being prepared should we start to see an influx of cases related to COVID-19 at our sites."

On Tuesday, provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said through social distancing, they hope to slow the rate of infection, but they're preparing for the worst case scenario by making more hospital beds available.

Earlier this week, Interior Health announced that only essential visits to all IH sites would be permitted. Essential visits include compassionate care for end of life or critical illness situations, and visits that are considered “paramount to patient care and wellbeing.”

Staff will be stationed at entrances to IH sites, including KGH, to ensure visitors are aware of the new visitor restrictions.

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