A woman lies in an ICU bed with wires and tubes hooked up to her body.

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Sick Northerners Get Help on VanIsle, But the Beds Are Filling Up

It was a sad Thanksgiving for 14 northerners who were flown to ICU beds in the south

COVID keeps rolling through the province, and unvaccinated people are getting hit hard

Over Thanksgiving weekend, BC Emergency Health Services flew fourteen more people from northern BC to hospitals in Vancouver and on VanIsle.

Health Minister Adrian Dix put it into perspective in his COVID update on Tuesday: “it’s about nine hundred kilometres by air from Dawson Creek to Victoria.”

That’s a sad way to spend a holiday.

That means a total of 55 people have been airlifted away from their homes because the hospitals where they live are too full of other people with COVID.

Of those 55 patients, 43 had COVID. Forty-two of them were not fully vaccinated. The other 12 folks were sick with something else, but they needed to be airlifted far from home to get the care they needed.

Mike Bernier is the MLA for Peace River South. He represents towns Dawson Creek where COVID is spreading like wildfire.

He says doctors in the south are calling him to tell him that their beds are full of people from the north.

The vaccination rates in his riding are pretty low compared to the rest of the province. And the pro-virus protesters are getting up close and personal. They even showed up at his house.

“I’ve been in politics 20 years, so I’m used to being the dartboard,” he told Energetic City, “but it’s become so polarizing, and everybody wants you to take their side.”

Meanwhile, Tofino General Hospital declared a COVID outbreak in its inpatient ward. The emergency department and the rest of the hospital are still open. But when the non-COVID parts of our hospital system have COVID outbreaks, it’s an uncomfortable reminder of how vulnerable we are.

The fourth wave has been the longest, worst one yet on VanIsle.

There is some good news coming, though. Dr. Bonnie Henry announced today that kids as young as five could be getting their COVID vaccines in the next couple of months.

BC’s Get Vaccinated system is now open to register for appointments for five to eleven-year-olds. Parents will be notified as soon as the vaccine is approved and available.