Interior Health resumes temporarily suspended services

Interior Health is taking a phased approach to resuming services that were temporarily halted last month due to COVID-19. The service adjustments, announced on January 18, were implemented to preserve safe and reliable access to patient care throughout the Interior region.

“Omicron-related COVID-19 staffing impacts on the healthcare system are beginning to subside and Interior Health can now resume services that were temporarily halted last month,” said Susan Brown, President and CEO of Interior Health. “We are working with affected communities this week and reassigning staff to their usual roles across the region following a phased approach that brings services back in a safe and planned manner.”

The following services will begin to return to normal as follows:

• Two new registered nurses have been recruited in Lillooet and inpatient services will reopen on March 14;

• A new registered nurse has been recruited for Clearwater and inpatient services to reopen February 23;

• Primary care services provided by nurses at the Barrière and District Health Center will return to normal on February 23;

• Outpatient laboratory services at Barrière will resume five days a week, Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.;

• Scheduling of elective elective surgeries will resume on February 23 and gradually return to full services in Interior Health over a two-week period;

• Depending on the community, some outpatient services, adult day programs and non-emergency home health services will resume. Affected customers will be contacted directly.

The following services remain temporarily reduced:

• Overnight services at Ashcroft Community Health Center and Slocan Community Health Center in New Denver remain reduced to stabilize day services in these communities.

“While staffing is not stable enough to safely restore all services next week, we are happy to take initial steps and resume non-emergency elective surgeries for people in Interior Health. We will reschedule deferred procedures to catch up with the backlog as quickly as possible,” Brown added.

Interior Health is reaching out to local leaders and partners to answer questions and work together as services resume. Regular communications and updates can be found here: www.interiorhealth.ca/temporary-service-changes.

“We want to thank the public for their patience and understanding as Interior Health took swift action last month to manage the staffing crisis caused by COVID-19. Safety is our top priority and as sick calls begin to decline and this wave of COVID-19 subsides, we are pleased to lift these emergency measures across the region.

Betty K. Park