Long-time Williams Lake physician Dr. Glenn Fedor said the fourth wave of the COVID-19 pandemic is having the most impact on Cariboo Memorial Hospital he has seen yet.
“I feel for the hospital staff,” he told the Tribune Monday evening. “They are working so hard, emotions are high.”
Fedor said he is aware of the numbers of cases in the hospital, although the government has mandated that the numbers are not publicly announced.
He said with the Cariboo Chilcotin region’s lower-than-desired vaccination rate, he is not surprised to be seeing higher numbers of positive cases.
As of Tuesday, Sept. 21, 72 per cent of eligible people 12 years and over had their first dose in the Cariboo-Chilcotin, whereas the provincial rate was 86.8 per cent on Monday, Sept. 20.
While he does not believe the COVID-19 vaccine should be mandated, Fedor said he encourages his patients and everyone he talks to to get vaccinated.
“I also hope the government will take measures to protect our health workers and health care system,” he said. “We have to ensure that non-COVID patients get access to treatment.”
The good news, he added, is healthcare staff are pulling together and if someone calls in sick then nurses are filling in from other departments.
Surgeries are not being cancelled in Williams Lake, he confirmed, but some surgeries are being delayed in other hospitals because COVID is impacting the capacity to deal with everyday medicine.
During the city council meeting Tuesday, Sept. 21, Mayor Walt Cobb reiterated his complain from earlier in the pandemic, saying the lack of information given to the public is not helpful.
“Once again we are in COVID meetings once a week and I have huge concern that our system is going to fall apart. The doctors and nurses are tapped right out and COVID is getting worse,” he said.
Between January 2020 and August 2021, there were 724 reported cases of COVID-19 in the Cariboo-Chilcotin region out of 25,579 in Interior Health.
Interior Health does not break down the number of COVID-19 deaths by regions within the health authority, but as of Sept. 20, 2021 there were 219 deaths attributed to COVID-19 and 24,094 people who have recovered from contracting it.