As hospitals brace for shortages of beds and equipment amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Burnaby firefighters have seen a welcome drop in medical calls that might have further strained the health-care system.
In 2019, the fire department got 565 medical calls between March 1 and 26. During that same period this year, medical calls dropped to 433.
For all calls, the number dropped from 949 to 841.
Deputy fire Chief Darcey O’Riordan called the decrease “significant” and likely related to the number of people self-isolating at home.
“The numbers could be linked to people working together to fight COVID-19,” he told the NOW. “It shows the City of Burnaby and the citizens of Burnaby are taking the provincial health emergency seriously.”
Last week, provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and deputy health minister Stephen Brown unveiled the province’s plan for dealing with COVID-19 cases in the coming weeks and months.
Beds and ventilators have already been freed up by the province’s decision earlier this month to defer elective surgeries.
In the event of a surge in cases, COVID patients may be moved from over-capacity sites to under-capacity sites, and non-COVID cases with less acute needs might be moved from hospitals and cared for at other facilities set up in the community, according to the plan.
As of Saturday, B.C. had 884 confirmed cases of COVID-19, and 17 people had died from the disease.
Health officials are not releasing the number of cases per city or hospital, but 291 of the confirmed cases were reported in the Fraser Health Region.