Protective equipment supply 'wicked problem,' says B.C. health officer

Laverne Higgins
March 26, 2020

"There are four people now in hospital at Interior Health just to put it in context of what we're dealing with". All of those who have died from COVID-19 have been 70 or older.

Earlier Wednesday, the federal government announced new details around its COVID-19 financial aid package, including tax deferrals for business and a new $2,000 monthly benefit for people who have lost their jobs in the pandemic.

Despite reported hiccups by doctors in B.C. on testing and triage, Henry suggested ahead of the curve on testing.

British Columbia now has a total of 659 confirmed cases, with 64 COVID-19 patients being treated in hospital, including 26 in intensive care.

Overall, Henry said that 64 people are now hospitalized in BC, and of those, 26 are in intensive care units.

But some of the people who were exposed before the social distancing measures were ordered will develop the disease in the next week to 10 days, Henry said.

Residents and workers at several long-term care facilities in the Lower Mainland have experienced COVID-19 infections, among them the Lynn Valley Care Centre in North Vancouver, the Haro Park Centre in downtown Vancouver, Delta View Care Centre in Delta and Broadway Pentecostal Lodge in Vancouver.

The health authority has said all hospitals, long-term care homes, and other health facilities are making plans to prepare.

The US has the Potential to Become the New Epicenter of Infection
She also added in her statement that the United States has a very large outbreak and that outbreak is increasing in intensity. Often, the cases tested and reported first are those with severe symptoms, since those people go to the hospital.

However, there has been an increase at Haro Park, "where we now have 28 residents and 27 staff who have been affected".

Henry said she is also concerned by the dramatic increase in the use of personal protective equipment such as masks and gloves in hospitals over the past week due to the rise in hospitalizations. Public health officials are providing support to implement outbreak protocols.

"We're at a bit of a critical phase with personal protective equipment", she said. We have had a number of supplies on order for some time.

But both he and Henry emphasized that physical distancing measures are crucial now to prevent a surge in demand from overwhelming the health care system in the coming weeks.

"We will get through this".

"While the emergency order is in place here in British Columbia, suspending current and future evictions until this crisis has passed", Horgan adds.

Henry also elaborated on her order banning gatherings of 50 or more people, warning that "smaller is better" and encouraging people to instead connect virtually online.

"Even two or three (people) can be that transmission point", she said.

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