COVID making thousands of B.C. health-care workers sick | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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COVID making thousands of B.C. health-care workers sick

FILE PHOTO - B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix.

In a single week, in early January, there were at least 10,000 health-care workers off sick in B.C. with COVID-19.

That statistic was presented by Health Minister Adrian Dix during a news briefing today, Jan. 14.

During the week of Jan. 3 to 9, there were 21,517 health-care workers off sick out of 188,000 in B.C.

Dix did not have comparable numbers for the entire province for previous years. His figures did not include the Interior or Northern Health regions but showed about 10,000 more workers were off sick this year than than the comparable week in each of the previous two years, likely due to COVID.

“This is significant,” Dix said. “This is an immensely challenging time when you have, incrementally, 10,000 health care workers off in a given week, either for one day or more. That has an impact on services and we are adapting everywhere. The cancellation of non-urgent, scheduled surgeries, for example, was necessary to free up staff to support people coming into hospitals and necessary to ensure that acute care is well protected.”

Those non-urgent surgeries were postponed as of Jan. 4, in anticipation of staff shortages and increased patient loads due to COVID.

While the number of people infected with COVID in B.C. seems to have peaked and is now declining, the rate of new people going into hospital because of COVID is expected to increase for another week and the total number of people in hospital with COVID is not going to decline for another week after that.

READ MORE: Omicron on downward trajectory in B.C. but not in Interior Health yet

Still, Dix urged people who need treatment to go to hospital.

“If you need care, get care,” he said. “Don’t stay home. Don’t wait. If you have a serious reason to get care, get care.

"The amount of healthcare being delivered is unprecedented at every level right now. Our health-care workers are producing more output than ever before, but we need to be patient because these impacts are affecting the system.”

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