Kelowna General Hospital (File photo)

Kelowna General Hospital (File photo)

Interior Health hospitals not strained by rising COVID case counts

While provincial hospitalizations rise, health care systems in the B.C. Interior remain robust, say officials

As hospitalizations climb across the province, officials with Interior Health say regional health care systems and intensive care units are not being overwhelmed by rising COVID-19 case counts.

In the Kootenays, case counts have spiked in communities such as Cranbrook, Kimberley and Windermere, according to the B.C. Centre for Disease Control. Based on weekly data released by the agency, between April 4-10, Cranbrook had 23 cases, Kimberley had 13, Creston had 12, and Windermere doubled its previous epidemiological week case count with 34 cases.

“We are paying close attention to the impact that the community COVID cases are having on the health system and we are working every day to make sure the necessary steps are being taken to have sustainable health services for the communities that need to access them,” said Karen Bloemink, interim VP, Pandemic Response and Surgical Strategy with Interior Health.

There are currently 22 hospitalizations and nine in critical care in Interior Health, however, demand on intensive care unit capacity is holding steady, according to Bloemink.

“We are monitoring our hospitalization and our critical care capacity on a daily basis and more frequently as needed,” said Bloemink. “As we’ve talked about before, our hospitals work together as a network of hospitals in this health authority and our network of critical care units work together in the same way.

“As of today, our capacity is handling the demand. So our services are available, we have staff that are on the ground in those units and we’re managing the demand that we do have our plate.”

As case counts rise, the Interior Health contact tracing system is under some strain, according to Dr. Albert de Villiers, the Chief Medical Officer for Interior Health.

The system is mainly run out of a virtual hub in Vernon, however some contact tracers do track cases in the communities they reside, he added.

“There is a strain on the system currently because we do see more cases than we did a month or so ago, but they are able to keep up,” said Dr. de Villiers. “Especially with the school cases, they are keeping up, because we do prioritize those, we prioritize cases in the school, cases in the hospital, or cases in long-term care and we definitely put our resources into that and make sure that the contact tracing happens as soon as possible.”

Indigenous communities have their own separate contact tracing system that include local health officials.

Vaccine distribution continues across the health authority, as 180,994 total doses have been administered, 13,097 of which are second doses.

Dr. de Villiers says a national advisory committee, which includes representatives from British Columbia, is set to release updated guidance for AstraZeneca, one of four vaccines approved by the federal government.

However, the AstraZeneca vaccine rollout, originally earmarked for outbreaks, clusters and frontline workers, was halted as the committee studied reported concerns over side effects such as blood clots.

“Hopefully by next week at least, we will have an answer on that,” said de Villiers.

In the meantime, Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines are being delivered to immunization clinics across the Interior Health region as part of the provincial age-based rollout plan.



trevor.crawley@cranbrooktownsman.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.

Just Posted

The warm weather means time for a camping trip, or at least an excursion into nature. How much do you know about camps and camping-related facts? (John Arendt - Summerland Review)
QUIZ: Are you ready to go camping?

How many camp and camping-related questions can you answer?

Mario Bafaro awoke in the middle of the night on April 25 to his home on fire in the Big Eddy. (Liam Harrap - Revelstoke Review)
‘I didn’t know I had so many friends’: Revelstoke fire victim thanks community for support

Mario Bafaro lost his home and dogs in a house fire on April 25

Tim Miller is selling his 76-foot steel bridge from his property in Burton, B.C. The bridge originates from the railway in Revelstoke. (Contributed)
For sale: a 100-ton 19th century bridge from Revelstoke

Bridge is now in Burton, B.C. and advertised for $40,000

North Okanagan business Hytec Kohler set up a COVID-19 vaccination clinic at the Spallumcheen plant Friday, May 14. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)
More than half of eligible adults in Interior Health vaccinated

Over 365,000 vaccine doses have been administered throughout the Interior Health region

New Border Bruins owner Dr. Mark Szynkaruk reps team colours with his young sons and wife Tracey. Photo courtesy of the Grand Forks Border Bruins
KIJHL’s Border Bruins sold to Grand Forks doctor

The league announced the sale Friday, May 14

Daily confirmed COVID-19 cases reported to B.C. public health, seven-day rolling average in white, to May 12, 2021. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
B.C. preparing ‘Restart 2.0’ from COVID-19 as June approaches

Daily infections fall below 500 Friday, down to 387 in hospital

Poached trees that were taken recently on Vancouver Island in the Mount Prevost area near Cowichan, B.C. are shown on Sunday, May 10, 2021. Big trees, small trees, dead trees, softwoods and hardwoods have all become valuable targets of tree poachers in British Columbia as timber prices hit record levels. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jen Osborne.
Tree poaching from public forests increasing in B.C. as lumber hits record prices

Prices for B.C. softwood lumber reached $1,600 for 1,000 board feet compared with about $300 a year ago

A man and woman, both 33 and from Kelowna, were arrested on Postill Lake Forest Service Road in possession of two stolen vehicles Friday, May 14, 2021. (File photo)
Kelowna duo arrested with stolen vehicles after ‘brief’ bicycle getaway attempt

A man and a woman were arrested on a forest service road on numerous pending charges

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

The BC Conservation Officer Service (COS) handed out fines to two anglers on Shuswap Lake who were both casting more than one line, in violation of provincial regulations, Saturday, May 15, 2021. (COS photo)
Conservation officers snag Shuswap anglers for unlawful fishing

Two anglers were given $150 fines for casting two lines at once, against provincial regulations

On Friday, May 14 at Meadow Gardens Golf Club in Pitt Meadows, Michael Caan joined a very elite club of golfers who have shot under 60 (Instagram)
Crowds at English Bay were blasted with a large beam of light from an RCMP Air-1 helicopter on Friday, May 14. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Marc Grandmaison
Police enlist RCMP helicopter to disperse thousands crowded on Vancouver beach

On Friday night, police were witness to ‘several thousand people staying well into the evening’

Lynda Saundry, born 1961, is charged with the murder of North Okanagan resident Barry Jones in July 2020. Saundry will appear in Vernon court May 17, 2021, to fix a date for a preliminary inquiry. (Facebook public photo)
North Okanagan murder suspect to be tried by judge and jury

Lynda Saundry is charged with the first-degree murder of Barry Jones in July 2020

Vernon Search and Rescue’s Legacy vessel is returning to Okanagan Lake for boating season, the society said Friday, May 14, 2021. (VSAR photo)
Vernon Search and Rescue vessel returns to Okanagan Lake

VSAR’s Legacy is back with a fresh coat of paint and some other upgrades

Most Read