Hallway used for patient overflow at Surrey Memorial Hospital, 2016. B.C. has cleared 40 per cent of its acute care beds to make way for COVID-19 patients. (Black Press Media files)

B.C. clears more acute hospital beds as COVID-19 case growth slows

Province holding about 40% of beds empty for peak still to come

B.C.’s health ministry has been updating its most telling public indicator of its “worst case scenario” for serious COVID-19 cases, by holding more than 4,000 acute-care hospital beds open even as its hospitalized cases are holding steady at fewer than 150.

Hospital bed occupancy in B.C. has run at more than 100 per cent for many years, with overflow systems for surgery and other patients. As of April 6 the bed occupancy was 58.8 per cent, with 4,422 beds available, and 53.3 per cent of critical care and intensive care unit beds were occupied.

Postponing thousands of elective surgeries has helped clear hospital capacity, as has a significant drop in the number of patients coming into emergency rooms. There were 2,995 ER patients on April 5, fewer than half of the cases recorded in B.C. hospitals on March 9, Health Minister Adrian Dix said.

There were 140 people in hospital with COVID-19 related illness as of April 6. “That’s slightly above Sunday when it was 137, and slightly below Saturday when it was 149,” Dix said.

By region, there were 63 hospitalized patients in Fraser Health, 49 in Vancouver Coastal, 13 in Interior Health, 11 in Island Health and four in the Northern Health Authority.

RELATED: Recovery rate tops 60%, active B.C. cases now at 444

RELATED: B.C. opens submissions for COVID-19 research fund

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry acknowledged that B.C.’s newly detected cases are slowing down, with 26 positive tests as of April 4 and another 37 on April 5. She credited early moves by B.C. to restrict community contact.

“It’s very hard to know exactly why,” Henry said. “We took a lot of measures quite early. We were one of the first provinces to have cases here, and we spent a lot of time doing wide testing, and putting out those sparks that were related to people coming in from other countries and bringing this disease with them.

“Some parts of it are luck, and some parts of it are being prepared, but we were able to, I believe, not have a lot of community spread before we recognized that we had some community transmission and put on the very restrictive measures just prior to our March break.”


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

BC legislatureCoronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Port McNeill’s outdoor swimming pool will stay closed this summer

The Town of Port McNeill typically hires 12-13 staff for the pool every year.

Bird contacting wires causes massive Port Hardy power outage

The power outage started at 1:18 p.m. and lasted until 3:00 p.m.

Port Hardy Salvation Army serving lunch daily during pandemic

Centre is closed to the public, but overnight shelter, daily lunch and one-on-one services available

Port Hardy arena waiting for almost three million in grant funds needed for maintenance

The funds will be going towards upgrades to the arena and the lobby entrance.

Seniors housing in Port Hardy moves ahead with rezoning application

North Island seniors able to “age in place” in new facility, currently getting funding and permits

22 new COVID-19 test-positives, one death following days of low case counts in B.C.

Health officials urged British Columbians to ‘stand together while staying apart’

Federal aid for care home systems needed ahead of second wave, advocates say

Ontario Long Term Care Association calling for more action

B.C. woman, 26, fatally shot by police in Edmundston, N.B.

Police were conducting a well-being check at the time of the incident

Horgan calls for national anti-racism program; will pitch idea to PM, premiers

Premier John Horgan said he’s horrified by the death of George Floyd in the United States

Chilliwack dad rescues two young daughters after truck plunges into lake

“I used every single one of my angels that day,” said Dennis Saulnier

VIDEO: Internal investigation into aggressive arrest by Kelowna Mountie

A video allegedly shows a Kelowna Mountie striking a man several times

Gold River ready to welcome visitors and restart local businesses

In contrast to single-industry remote communities, Gold River’s diversified economy might help it better survive after reopening

John Horgan says COVID-19 restrictions won’t be eased regionally

B.C. Liberals urge ‘tailored’ response based on infections

Feds get failing grade for lack of action plan on anniversary of MMIWG report

‘Instead of a National Action Plan, we have been left with a Lack-of-Action Plan’

Most Read