Island doctor concerned as COVID-19 patients fill up hospital critical care beds

WatchA Nanaimo doctor is sounding the alarm about the number of COVID-19 patients and the resulting pressure on staff in hospitals right now. He also says the province's vaccine pass is a good step as it will improve safety for those attending discretionary events. Kendall Hanson has more.

A Nanaimo doctor is sounding the alarm about the number of COVID-19 patients and the resulting pressure on staff in hospitals right now.

It comes as the vaccine card is about to take effect — an effort the doctor fully supports.

At Superior Farms in Lantzville, they were getting ready to host what will likely be their last concert in a while.

Owners of the farm have decided to end a series of concerts after Saturday’s show with the vaccine card about to take effect Monday.

“We want to see how it rolls out before we actually start enforcing it just in case as a business we make a mistake with it right. We want to make sure we’re being compliant on one hand but respectful of everybody,” said Jamie Wilson, an owner of Superior Farms and current member of Lantzville district council.

It comes as a Nanaimo doctor says hospitals are again reaching a critical point, with intensive care units filled with mostly non-vaccinated people, who have contracted COVID-19.

“The spread of this infection is resulting in significant cases which are overburdening our health system again,” said Dr. David Forrest, an infectious disease and critical care doctor at Nanaimo Regional General Hospital.

On Tuesday, a 70-year-old woman with severe stomach pain died in the Kamloops emergency waiting room, while waiting for care.

Forrest says the lack of space is the same across the board.

“As I say, our ICUs are at full capacity right now. There are limited resources,” said Forrest.

The number of people who have been hospitalized with the novel coronavirus on the Island has increased by nearly 20 per cent in the last month.

Forrest says staff at the region’s hospitals are already stretched to manage current patient loads.

He fully supports the vaccine card about to take effect and says it would help the intensive care units are at full capacity.

“It is absolutely your right to choose whether to be vaccinated or not but it is not your right to put others at risk. As a consequence there should be restrictions on liberties and privileges to ensure that the public is protected,” said Forrest.

Back at Superior Farms they fear trying to enforce the vaccine card could result in confrontations with customers.

“We know there is I would say a minority within the population that is not for the vaccination pass and there are people who want to feel safe and they get a lot of comfort in knowing there is a vaccination pass so there are two sides to it,” said Wilson.

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Kendall HansonKendall Hanson

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