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HomeNewsBC Health Minister says health care worker sickness declining, elective surgeries resuming

BC Health Minister says health care worker sickness declining, elective surgeries resuming

The number of healthcare workers calling in sick is trending downwards.

That’s according to BC Health Minister Adrian Dix who said during the of January 31st to February 6th, 17,158 health care workers were ill.

That number declined to 15,524 from February 7th to 13th.

In an interview with Vista Radio, Dix stated the declining trend held true in both the Interior and Northern Health regions.

“In Northern Health that went from about 1,700 to 1,600 and in Interior Health it went from 3,400 to 2,900.”

“The trend is good. But, remember we have a lot of health care workers – 130,000 is the base of health care workers that we are talking about. In this period, in what is respiratory illness season, we have health care workers off sick by any means and that means all sources of sickness.”

Dix added BC is also making good progress on non-elective surgeries that were previously postponed.

In Tuesday’s surgical renewal update, health authorities reported that 6,006 surgeries were completed from January 16th to 22nd. However, from February 6th to 12th, health authorities postponed 320 non-urgent scheduled surgeries. Three of those were in Northern Health while Interior Health pushed back 231.

“The one place where there is more of a challenge is in Interior because of the number of health care workers off sick, which is significant as well as the challenges they face there,” Dix.

However, the health minister remains optimistic these surgeries will be completed in a similar fashion when compared to the subsiding of previous waves.

“In the tens of thousands of surgeries delayed in the first period from March and of 2020, 99% of those have been done. Then there is the second series of other delays 92% of those have been done and we are going to do the same thing here.”

Furthermore, the Omicron variant has put far less of a strain on critical care.

Dix noted the number of patients being airlifted from the north to other health authorities needing critical care dropped significantly when compared to the Delta surge.

“If you look at the whole period from September 5th of 2021 to February 5th of this year, 157 patients were airlifted to other health authorities via the north. We have only seen nine of those cases since December 1st.”

“In other words, we saw less of an impact in spite of an increase in the number of patients in critical care. That being said, what we saw overwhelmingly in that period for those who had COVID-19, who were airlifted or taken out of the region, the majority were unvaccinated and we are still seeing that in critical care.”

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