‘They are being stretched to their limit’: Island Health officials plea to residents to follow rules amid COVID-19 third wave

File photo.
Island Health authorities say although there are technically enough beds, that's not what's overloading our system

Officials with the Island Health authority are pleading to residents to follow public health orders and guidelines to alleviate the pressure on healthcare teams amid the third wave of COVID-19.

In a public statement released by the health authority on Friday, officials suggest that healthcare teams have been working long hours in order to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 as there has been an increasing presence of the new variants of concern.

“Our healthcare teams are tired. Many are on the verge of exhaustion,” reads a joint statement from Dr. Richard Stanwick, Chief Medical Health Officer, and Dr. Ben Williams, Chief Medical Executive.

Island Health says that it currently has the necessary infrastructure and capacity with respect to critical care beds and ventilators in order to handle the increasing number of hospitalizations from COVID-19, however, suggests that occupancy numbers and ventilator supply don’t paint the full picture.

“For every person in a critical care bed, whether they are being treated for COVID-19 or another serious medical condition, a team of dedicated professionals is required to deliver care,” reads the joint statement.

“It is a system that relies on people. Our people are dedicated, diligent and resilient, and their commitment to providing excellent care is unwavering. But they are being stretched to their limit as this pandemic continues.”

Health officials are calling on the communities around Vancouver Island to adhere to public health orders and guidelines to prevent overloading the health system as B.C. continues to see high daily case numbers.

“Until we have sufficient community immunity, help reduce the burden on the healthcare system by not gathering indoors with people we don’t live with, avoiding all non-essential travel by staying local, and staying home when sick,” reads the statement.

Due to the continued high volume of cases, British Columbia implemented new travel restrictions on Friday, which limit non-essential movement between health authorities.

Earlier this week, the “circuit breaker” restrictions were also extended until May 25, banning things like indoor dining at restaurants and group fitness activities.

On Thursday, British Columbia announced 1,006 new cases of COVID-19 across the province with 37 of those being with the Island Health region. As of April 22, there were 307 active cases around Vancouver Island.

Both health and government officials are hoping the latest measures will help flatten the curve in British Columbia while more people continue to receive vaccinations.

“Your efforts to stick to these principles are a show of support for our frontline workers,” concludes the statement. “And they need all that support more than ever right now.”

British Columbians 18 and older, hoping to register for the vaccine, are able to do so by visiting the government’s website.

Graham Cox

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