As the Omicron variant of COVID-19 spreads rapidly across the county, it called nearly twice as many health care workers sick last week than it did in the same period in 2021.
Between January 3 and 9, in all health authorities except the island and the interior, Health Minister Adrian Dix said 14,591 health care workers called patients with either COVID-19, similar symptoms or another illness. Last year, 7,573 patients were called in the same week.
“This is important and I want to say what it means for our system,” Dix said in a briefing about the pandemic on Friday.
“This is a very difficult time when, incrementally, you have an additional 10,000 healthcare workers sick in a given week, either on one day or more. This is having an impact on services and we are adapting everywhere.”
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More than 500 scheduled and non-urgent surgeries in British Columbia have been postponed since the beginning of the month to ease the burden on hospitals as COVID-19 admissions soar and staff are moved to essential care areas.
“The biggest sacrifice is made by the people who provide this care, but more importantly, the people who are having the surgery and their families,” Dix said.
Across the county, between January 3 and 9, a total of 21,517 health care workers called in sick with illness of all kinds, resulting in 27,937 absentee shifts. Dix added that between January 10 and 12, there were 11,010 health care workers away from work due to illness.
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Ontario has reported 3,814 patients with COVID in hospital, 527 in intensive care units.
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There are about 188,000 active health care workers in the county.
Despite an increase in illness among the staff group, Dix said British Columbians needing care should not be discouraged.
“Yes, we need to be patient in these times, but the scale of healthcare provided is unprecedented on every level. Our healthcare workers are producing more than ever before.”
“If you need care, get care. Don’t stay home, don’t wait….don’t be deterred by this.”
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In response to the record number of COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations, BC announced Friday that it is changing the way it reports on hospitalizations to better reflect the impact of the pandemic on hospitals.
Between December 2021 and January 11 at Vancouver Coastal Health, about 45 percent of people admitted to hospitals with a positive COVID-19 test discovered it accidentally, while 50 percent were admitted with a COVID-diagnosed. 19.
Both will now be included in hospitalization reports, as well as people who have contracted COVID-19 within a hospital, people who have been hospitalized due to social conditions, and people from outside BC who have been hospitalized in BC due to COVID-19.
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