Island Health ready for ‘worst-case scenario’ in COVID-19 crisis

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WatchHundreds of hospital beds along with dozens of ventilators have been prepared by Island Health for the COVID-19 crisis. They say they are ready for a worst-case scenario. Julian Kolsut has the details.

Hospitals across Vancouver Island are unusually quiet as they brace for the COVID-19 crisis to worsen.

Twenty-five per cent of hospital beds have been freed up at Island health hospital and 178 ventilators are available.

They say with predictive modelling, they have been able to prepare for a “‘worst-case scenario”, like if Island cases grew at a rate of what was happening in Hubei province in China.

“We do have adequate capacity but no model is perfect so we need to be ready for that worse case scenario. We need to be ready to be worse than that,” said Island Health’s Dr. Ben Williams, interim vice-president of Medicine, Quality and Academic Affairs.

“[Hospitals are] eerily quiet. We will absolutely see more cases of COVID-19 on Vancouver Island. We know it’s in every region of this Island. We expect it’s in every community.”

Other critical tools like personal protection equipment like are facing global shortages. Island Health says their stocks of items like masks are okay for the time being.

“What we have asked of our staff, our doctors our nurse use what you need now to keep you and your family safe but use it carefully so it continues to be available,” said Dr. Williams.

“N95’s are only needed in very specialized procedures where we make very little tiny droplets. That happens when we put a breathing tube down a patient but for day to day care, those N95 masks are not needed.”

Island clinics are also continuing to ramp up ways for patients to get access to help..

“Many of my physician colleagues have transitioned to telephone and video visits,” said Dr. Aaron Childs from Victoria’s Division of Family Practice.

“We’ve been trying to move things in on our office to having online booking and more availability of shorter appointments because it does take a little less time when you’re focused in on a telephone call.”

But health officials stress the best way to keep hospitals and clinics from being overwhelmed is to follow social distancing.

Julian KolsutJulian Kolsut

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