Home Health Island Health Island Health top doctors appeal for support of health-care workers: follow protocols

Island Health top doctors appeal for support of health-care workers: follow protocols

"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." ~ Dr Richard Stanwick, Island Health

Friday April 23, 2021 | VICTORIA, BC

by Mary P Brooke, B.Sc., Editor | Island Social Trends

Today the top doctors at Island Health issued a statement reminding islanders that health-care professionals have been working hard for over a year dealing with the COVID-pandemic, and they need public support.

That support is no longer about ‘banging pots’ or cut-out hearts pasted up in windows (nice as all that is).

The needed support has to do with following the health protocols: physical distancing (even outdoors), wearing masks, socializing only with your own household, superior hand hygiene, and staying home if ill.

The peak of daily case counts seems to have been met this week (though still around 1,000 per day) and well the number of people isolating slightly lower by this week’s end (but still over 12,000). Variants of concern comprise a significant number of new cases (6,179 total VOC cases at last count on April 20, with 307 new on that day out of the day’s 849 new cases, or 36.2%).

COVID infections among health-care workers:

At least 6.3% of COVID-19 infections in BC are among health-care workers (January 2020 to April 16, 2021). Among that sector show the highest percentage among those on the public front line: care aides (21.7%), nurses (16.7%) and administration (7.7%).

In descending order from there: licensed practical nurses (5.6%), housekeeping (3.9%), kitchen/dietary (3.1%), dental professionals (3.1%), physicians (3.0%), occupational therapist/physiotherapist/respiratory therapist (2.0%), student (2.0%), lab tech/assistant (1.8%), and others.

health-care workers, COVID
Percentage of test-positive COVID-19 cases in BC as comprised by health-care workers (January 2020 to April 16, 2021) – BC Centre for Disease Control

Dr. Richard Stanwick, Vice President Population Health and Chief Medical Health Officer, and Dr. Ben Williams, Vice President, Medicine and Quality and Chief Medical Executive said in their ‘Open Letter’ (in part):

Dr Richard Stanwick, Chief Medical Officer, Island Health
Dr Richard Stanwick, Chief Medical Officer, Island Health

“Our health-care teams are tired. Many are on the verge of exhaustion. We are immensely proud of all the people who work so tirelessly to keep our health system running. In recent days, there also has been discussion about acute care occupancy and available critical care beds.

“Island Health currently has the necessary infrastructure and capacity with respect to critical care beds and ventilators. But occupancy numbers and ventilator supply doesn’t tell the full story. 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. 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.” | See full statement (below this article)


Vaccination will tip the tide:

There is also a strong recommendation to Get Vaccinated [BC Vaccination Information | Island Health Vaccination Information].

how to get vaccinated, COVID
How to get the COVID-19 vaccination in BC. [BC Health]

Most of us already know that it won’t be until community (herd) immunity is achieved that people can be safer among others. The needed immunity level is around 70%, as explained many times by public health. Presently only 30% of eligible British Columbians (i.e. adults) have been immunized so far: 1,542,066 people across BC (243,477 of those in Island Health).

No children have been immunized yet (as no COVID vaccine products have yet been approved for use in people under age 18, though studies are underway explained Provincial Health Officer Dr Bonnie Henry this week). While there have been exposures (and two clusters) in schools on Vancouver Island, school continues to prove being a safer social environment for children than being out in the community.

To date on Vancouver Island, 303 children up to age 10 have tested positive for COVID-19 (6.7% of Island Health cases) as well as 531 in the age 10 to 19 age group (11.9%… which is about the same percentage as people in the 40-49 and 50-59 age groups).

OakTree Naturals, banner ad, 2021
OakTree Naturals is centrally located on Goldstream Avenue in Langford.

COVID Stats at Friday April 23, 2021:

  • BC – Total cases 123,758, of which 8,842 are active. There are a high number of people in hospital (486) with also a very high number in ICU (160); hospitalizations to date tally at 6,281. Currently 12,608 people are isolating due to known exposure. Four more deaths reported today, bringing the total to 1,554.
  • Island Health – Total cases 4,458, of which 354 are active. There are a high number of people in hospital (30) with two in ICU; hospitalizations to date tally at 217. No deaths reported today (though there was one year), for a total of 34 pandemic-to-date.
Vancouver Island, COVID, April 23 2021
COVID-19 dashboard for Vancouver Island at April 23, 2021 with graph showing daily positivity levels, pandemic to date [BC CDC]

Island Social Trends, subscriptions, banner
Digital subscribers receive a digest of news posts and additional editorial content.

Full Island Health Open Letter to the Community on April 23, 2021 – from Dr. Richard Stanwick, Vice President Population Health and Chief Medical Health Officer, and Dr. Ben Williams, Vice President, Medicine and Quality and Chief Medical Executive:

Island Health, open letter
Open Letter to Residents of Island Health, from top doctors at Island Health, April 23, 2021.

“The third wave of the COVID-19 pandemic is here and like all of us, our health-care teams are ready to put the pandemic behind them. For more than a year, public health teams, medical staff, staff and care providers across Island Health have focused their energies on preventing and managing the spread of COVID-19 in our communities, and keeping you and your loved ones safe. This unprecedented effort continues, in addition to other important, everyday health-care needs beyond the pandemic. You can help by following public health orders and guidelines.

As the detailed April 16 presentation from the Province showed, COVID-19 cases remain high in our communities and we are seeing an increasing presence of the new Variants of Concern. Our Public Health teams are working long hours in order to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 in our communities through testing and collection, case and contact management, and vaccinations.

But our health-care teams are tired. Many are on the verge of exhaustion. We are immensely proud of all the people who work so tirelessly to keep our health system running. In recent days, there also has been discussion about acute care occupancy and available critical care beds. Island Health currently has the necessary infrastructure and capacity with respect to critical care beds and ventilators. But occupancy numbers and ventilator supply doesn’t tell the full story. 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. 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.

COVID-19 is swift. Right now, we are a third of the way to achieving community immunity and we need to adhere to public health orders and guidelines to prevent overloading our health-system. We acknowledge the global pandemic continues to be an extremely challenging experience for so many. We appreciate everything the community has done to support us, and we look forward to the continued roll-out of vaccine. Until we have sufficient community immunity, help reduce the burden on the health-care 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. Your efforts to stick to these principles are a show of support for our frontline workers. And they need all that support more than ever right now.”