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Surgeries cancelled at Richmond Hospital

Around 1,750 elective surgeries will be postponed in Metro Vancouver for at least the next two weeks
Non-urgent surgeries will be cancelled at Richmond Hospital, and eight other Lower Mainland hospitals, for the next two weeks.

Richmond Hospital will be cancelling non-urgent surgeries as of next week, as the number patients with COVID-19 at the hospital increases.

The hospital is one of nine across Metro Vancouver that will only provide urgent and emergency surgeries for at least two weeks, Health Minister Adrian Dix announced at Thursday’s COVID-19 press conference.

“This is to ensure that (the hospitals) have the critical care staff available to care for patients. We expect that this action will be required for a minimum of two weeks, but we’re going to evaluate it on a week-by-week basis,” Dix said.

The latest data provided by Vancouver Coastal Health (VCH) was that there were 18 COVID-19 patients at Richmond Hospital on Tuesday, including 10 patients in the COVID-19 unit, seven in the intensive care unit (ICU) and one in emergency.

The ICU was at 95-per-cent base-bed capacity, while the entire hospital was at 97-per-cent base-bed capacity.

A spokesperson for VCH said Richmond Hospital has “adequate surge capacity in place.”

However, the need to staff surge capacity means some services need to be reduced, said Dix.

“We know our hospitals have room, but the surge capacity is staffed with health-care workers from other areas,” he said.

In VCH, the affected hospitals are Richmond Hospital, Lions Gate Hospital, St. Paul’s Hospital, UBC and Vancouver General Hospital. In Fraser Health, Abbotsford Regional Hospital, Burnaby Hospital, Surrey Memorial Hospital and Royal Columbian Hospital are affected.

In total, 1,750 elective surgeries in Metro Vancouver will be postponed, including one thousand in Vancouver Coastal Health and 750 in Fraser Health. 

Dix said the cancelled surgeries will be rebooked “as soon as we are able to do so.”

Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said hospitals are safe and urged people to access those services if needed.

Across the province, 502 people are in hospital with COVID-19, 161 of whom are in intensive care.