VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – B.C.’s hospital beds are continuing to fill with COVID-19 patients, as the province reported 1,005 new cases on Friday.
Six more people have died in the last day.
There are 425 people in the hospital, up from the previous record of 409 patients on Thursday. Of those hospitalized, more than a quarter of them are in the ICU. There are 127 people in intensive care, up from 125 on Thursday.
An ICU doctor in Vancouver has been watching beds quickly fill up with COVID-19 patients.
Dr. Hussein Kanji, who works in the ICU at Vancouver General Hospital, says hospital staff are working in a stressful environment right now. He says they’re seeing case numbers they had originally anticipated during the first and second waves of the pandemic.
“Numbers have shot up quite precipitously,” he said. “The ICUs are filling up. Patients are coming in a lot quicker, and seem to be a lot younger, and quite a lot more sick, which is putting quite a stress on an already-stressed system in our hospital,” he said, adding workers are exhausted.
More than half of the cases (536) reported on Friday are in the Fraser Health region. Vancouver Coastal Health had the second-highest number of cases at 259.
Cases of the P.1 variant continue to rise, with a total of 1,810 in B.C. There are also 3,858 cases of the B.1.1.7 variant. Only 212 variant cases are considered active.
More than 1.2 million doses of Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, and AstraZeneca-SII COVID-19 vaccines have been administered in B.C., 87,970 of which are second doses.
British Columbians aged 45 and up and Indigenous people aged 18 and up can register online or by phone to book a vaccination.
Anyone aged 55 to 65 can also call a local pharmacy to book an appointment to receive the AstraZeneca vaccine.
On the cusp of the warmest weekend of the year to date, the province is out with a familiar reminder.
“Spending time outside is important for our physical and mental well-being,” reads a joint statement from Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix.
“But we have to remember that while being outside with others is much lower risk than being inside, it is not without risk. Even if we are outside, we need to stay small and continue to use our layers of protection. This means keeping a safe distance and wearing masks, especially if someone is higher risk for serious illness,” it added.
Dr. Kanji says until more people can be vaccinated, people need to do what they can to stay safe.
“We need to get through these next few weeks until the vaccine can take effect and help us with the problem.”
-With files from CityNews Vancouver