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)

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

Just Posted

A search is underway for David Borden in Oyama, since he was last seen Wednesday, June 16. (Contributed)
Search underway for missing Lake Country man

Vernon Search and Rescue, RCMP checking via land, water and air

Kelowna Fire Department. (Phil McLachlan - Capital News)
Abandonded campfire results in Kelowna bushfire

The fire was measured at 20 feet by 20 feet in size and has been deemed not suspicious in nature

The Greater Vernon Chamber of Commerce will host the Valley Wide Business Expo May 4 at Predator Ridge Resort. (photo submitted)
Golf raffle helps Okanagan families score homes

Habitat for Humanity Okanagan swinging into action this summer with a new raffle

(Facebook/Kelowna Cabs)
Kelowna Cabs reaches tentative agreement with dispatchers union

The tentative agreement could help end the dispute between the taxi company and the dispatchers

Bear wanders Kelowna on June 15. (Michelle Wallace/Facebook)
Bear climbs fence, uses crosswalk in Kelowna

The bear was spotted on Baron Road Wednesday evening

Jeanette Megens
KCR: Volunteering is sharing your story

Kelowna Community Resources shares stories of its volunteers in a weekly column

A truck rolled several times off Highway 6 in Coldstream Thursday night, sending two to hospital. (RCMP photo)
Rollover near Vernon sends 2 to hospital

Highway 6 closed temporarily while emergency crews extricated occupants

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Thousands of protesters make their way through the downtown core during a Black Lives Matter protest in Ottawa, Friday June 5, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
MPs’ study of systemic racism in policing concludes RCMP needs new model

Chair of the House public safety committee says it’s time for a reckoning on ‘quasi-military’ structure

A case filled with packages of boneless chicken breasts is shown in a grocery store Sunday, May 10, 2020, in southeast Denver. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-David Zalubowski
One million chickens euthanized during labour dispute at Quebec slaughterhouse

Premier says waste amounts to 13 per cent of the province’s chicken production thrown in the garbage

Premier of Manitoba Brian Pallister speaks at a news conference at the Manitoba Legislative Building in Winnipeg on Wednesday, April 7, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/David Lipnowski
Provincial leaders want more federal money for health care, plan to meet in fall

Premiers ask Ottawa to increase its share of overall health spending to 35 per cent from 22 per cent

A section of the eastern slopes of the Canadian Rockies is seen west of Cochrane, Alta., Thursday, June 17, 2021. A joint federal-provincial review has denied an application for an open-pit coal mine in Alberta’s Rocky Mountains, saying its impacts on the environment and Indigenous rights aren’t worth the economic benefits it would bring. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Panel says Grassy Mountain coal mine in Alberta Rockies not in public interest

Public hearings on the project in southern Alberta’s Crowsnest Pass region were held last fall

Most Read