After two patients were transferred from Northern Health (NH) to Victoria’s Royal Jubilee Hospital, NH issued a statement stating an increase in COVID-19 activity and hospitalizations for critical care.
On Dec. 2, in a media conference, Elin Bjarnason, vice president of South Island clinical operations for Island Health, confirmed that patients from NH had been transferred to the health authority.
“Northern Health was – for a couple of days – their critical care was quite full,” she explained. “Patients do get moved to different locations, typically from Northern Health or the Interior, they may go down to Vancouver and other locations.
The B.C. Pandemic Provincial Coordination Plan outlines the B.C. PTN as a provincial service that coordinates inter-facility transfers and provides 24/7 clinical oversight to patient transfers.
“Northern Health is experiencing an increase in COVID-19 activity and hospitalizations for COVID-19 patients requiring critical care. We are focused on ensuring the health system has capacity to offer quality care to both non-COVID-19 and COVID-19 patients, working in partnership with other health authorities, the Ministry of Health and the BC Centre for Disease Control,” said the statement.
NH also said that they have a total of 64 critical care unit beds of which 41 are base beds and 23 are surge critical care beds which means they could be scaled up or down depending on the need. NH also gave a breakdown for the critical care units across the health service.
NH has three COVID-designated sites in the North with University Hospital of Northern BC (UHNBC) in Prince George, Mills Memorial Hospital in Terrace and the Fort St. John Hospital.
As of Nov. 30, a total of 24 beds were occupied out of the 41 base beds across the health service. Fort St. John Hospital had one occupied bed of their four base beds, Mills Memorial had three beds occupied of their five base beds and had four empty surge beds, of the 23 base beds that UHNBC has 15 were occupied with 16 empty surge beds and of the other NH acute care facilities that have a total of nine base beds and three surge beds, five base beds were occupied.
The press release however also mentioned that not all critical care patients were COVID patients and whether or not a patient would be transferred couldn’t only be determined based on capacity and the kind of care the patient needs.
– with files from Nina Grossman