Fifty-five critical care patients from the Northern Health region have been transferred to hospitals outside of the health authority as escalating COVID-19 infections put stress on northern hospitals.
Of those 55, 43 are COVID-19 related and 42 of those are not fully vaccinated, said an exasperated Health Minister Adrian Dix Tuesday.
Fourteen patients were transferred over the Thanksgiving weekend.
“(Normally) se have 40 critical care beds in all of northern British Columbia,” Dix said. “We have 42 patients with COVID-19 from the North, in critical care, not just sick enough to be in the hospital, but in critical care in hospitals in the south.”
There are 23 surge beds added in the North and those are full as well, he said.
Dix stressed the provincial government is “all in” to support patients in the North and Northern Health as it deals with the influx of COVID-19 patients.
The high COVID-19 numbers are being driven primarily by low vaccination rates. While the provincial average of people with both doses of the vaccine, many places in the North (primarily the northeast), have vaccination rates as low as 53 per cent.
“The people I want to talk to today are the people walking around unvaccinated, who might be in those critical care beds in two or three weeks, I say now is the time to get vaccinated,” said Dix.
Infection numbers from the weekend will be released later this afternoon.