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

An artist’s rendering of the new emergency services building. (Photo submitted by Town of Creston)
Creston’s town council provides update on future emergency services building

Construction on the facility is expected to be complete in spring 2022

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

You can help pollinators on their quest by planting native species in your garden. (Pixabay)
E-Tips: Hello from the Creston Climate Action Society

Welcome to the first official E-Tips column

On April 27, town officials gathered at 1505 Cook Street to break ground at the site for the new emergency services building. From left to right: Councillor Arnold DeBoon, Mayor Ron Toyota, Councillor Joanna Wilson, Assistant Fire Chief Laura Dodman, Councillor Jen Comer, and Councillor Jim Elford. (Photo by Kelsey Yates)
Breaking ground for the new Creston Emergency Services Building

On April 27, town officials gathered at the construction site with shovels ceremoniously in hand

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

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?

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’

People shop in Chinatown in Vancouver on Friday, February 5, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Vancouver community leaders call for action following 717% rise in anti-Asian hate crimes

‘The alarming rise of anti-Asian hate in Canada and south of the border shows Asians have not been fully accepted in North America,’ says Carol Lee

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

Sinikka Gay Elliott was reported missing on Salt Spring Island on Wednesday, May 12. (Courtesty Salt Spring RCMP)
Body of UBC professor found on Salt Spring Island, no foul play suspected

Sinikka Elliott taught sociology at the university

The first Black judge named to the BC Supreme Court, Selwyn Romilly, was handcuffed at 9:15 a.m. May 14 while walking along the seawall. (YouTube/Screen grab)
Police apologize after wrongly arresting B.C.’s first Black Supreme Court Justice

At 81 years old, the retired judge was handcuffed in public while out for a walk Friday morning

Dr. Steve Beerman, of Nanaimo, shows off his Dr. David Bishop Gold Medal, awarded for distinguished medical service. (Karl Yu/News Bulletin)
Queen presents Vancouver Island doctor with award for global drowning prevention

Dr. Steve Beerman receives Royal Life Saving Society’s King Edward VII Cup at virtual ceremony

Most Read