The North Island Hospital Comox Valley campus is preparing for a surge in COVID-19 cases in much the same fashion as hospitals across the province – opening as many beds as possible, and having contingency plans in place for the most serious of cases.
In that regard, the North Island Hospital Comox Valley is following the lead of Island Health, with Nanaimo Regional General and Royal Jubilee (Victoria) considered the primary facilities, and other Island hospitals to be used in a support role.
“Island Health’s pandemic plan is to cohort COVID-19 patients requiring a higher level of care to Nanaimo Regional General Hospital and Royal Jubilee Hospital as primary COVID hospitals, with local sites used to support,” reads a prepared statement from Island Health. “There are also plans in place to move additional patients currently in hospital to alternative sites, if required, based on the level of need in our acute care system. These plans include using the recently completed Summit long-term care facility in Victoria, if needed, for patients currently in hospital.”
While the Nanaimo and Victoria hospitals have been earmarked as the primary treatment sites, the local hospital will be admitting COVID-19 patients.
As of April 5, Island Health reported the average occupancy at hospitals throughout the Island is “around 75 per cent,” and that 40 beds were available at the Comox Valley hospital.
Sources have told The Record that the North Island Hospital Comox Valley campus has elevated its protocol to “Stage 2,” meaning there are hospitalized COVID-19 patients at that location. The Record has reached out to the hospital for comment.
There are 178 ventilators available on Vancouver Island, including 86 critical care ventilators, 22 transport ventilators, and 70 anesthetic machines.
“It’s important to remember that ventilators and patients can be moved to where they need to be,” Island Health said in its statement, adding that both the provincial ministry and Island Health are actively working to acquire additional ventilators.
Dr. Adam Thompson, the COVID-19 physician lead for the Comox Valley Division of Family Practice, said his group has every confidence in the preparation that has been ongoing at the Comox Valley campus.
“The level of planning at the hospital to prepare for COVID -19 has been professional, expert and comprehensive,” he said. “We are very grateful to all the physicians, ER doctors, specialists and Family Doctors who have spent many hours working alongside our nursing, allied health and administrative staff to deliver a hospital ready to cope with the changes now and ahead.”
Thompson added the best plan of preparation should be done by individuals, not institutions.
“Regardless of planning at the hospital, it is our community that is the frontline force against this disease,” he said. “It is through our actions of physical distancing, staying at home, and appropriate hygiene such as hand washing, that we’ll beat this virus.”