'You are the centre of what we are doing' B.C. health minister says to people awaiting elective surgeries

Health minister Adrian Dix and Chief provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry walk in the legislature on the way to a media conference to provide an update on COVID-19, Wednesday, April 1, 2020.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED / Government of B.C.

British Columbians who had their surgeries and procedures cancelled as hospitals cleared the decks in preparation of a potential onslaught of COVID-19 cases will soon find themselves back on track.

"You are not forgotten — you are the centre of what we are doing," Health Minister Adrian Dix said.

"We have been planning for a resumption of surgeries ever since elective surgeries were cancelled."

There were around 14,000 elective surgeries and procedures cancelled between March 16 and April 19, while 12,000 procedures were completed. Urgent access to surgical services, which may include abortions, remain available to B.C. residents.

It’s unclear what the path for rebooking procedures will look like, but Dix offered assurances.

"I want everybody to know, who is waiting for surgery, that they are in our hearts, and in our thoughts, and, most importantly, in the work that's being done in health authorities across B.C.," Dix said.

As for the impact COVID-19 is having on hospitals, Dix said there are currently 103 COVID-19 patients in acute care, which is the lowest number all month. At the pandemic's peak there were 149 cases in acute care.

Hospital beds are at 62.1 per cent occupancy and emergency room visits are starting to reach a normal pace. On average, there used to be 6,500 visits a day, and right after the pandemic hit ER visits dropped to 3,000 a day over the province. Two days ago they got to 4,000 visits, which showed some use has returned.

On Wednesday, April 22, there were 71 new cases of the disease confirmed, for a total of 1,795 to date. Three more residents of long-term care homes have died, bringing the province's toll to 90.

There have been 1,079 COVID-19 cases that have fully recovered.


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