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Fil-Can nurse in BC: Covid-19 situation in hospitals could worsen

Rowena Papasin | TFC News Canada

Posted at Jan 28 2022 07:55 PM

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Hospitalizations in British Columbia climbed to 949 on Wednesday, with over 130 patients now in critical care, and 21 new deaths.

Cases of the Omicron subvariant BA.2 have also been detected in the Canadian province but top doctor Bonnie Henry said the number is not enough to see any impact for now. "My lab team has been following it really carefully and we’re not seeing it taking over from Omicron as we saw Omicron take over from Delta," Henry said.

Henry added that new infections are gradually declining, but Filipino Canadian nurse Walter Lumamba warned the situation in hospitals could still worsen in the coming days.

"It’s getting worse. Actually maybe in the next few weeks, [it'll get] worst dahil sa Omicron virus, the potent of that kind of virus actually affects both patients and nurses as well so talagang hirap na hirap and then ang workload issue is getting worst saka most of the units now are working short (Actually, maybe in the next few weeks, [it'll get] worse because of the Omicron virus, which affects both patients and nurses so they’re really exhausted and the workload issue is getting worse and most of the units now are working short)," Lumamba said.

Lumamba expressed concerns over the staff shortage in the hospital where he works, saying this also affects the quality of patient care. "In my own experience, even sa mga kasamahan natin diyan sa Surrey Memorial Hospital, hirap na hirap rin sila kasi walang mahagilap na nurse. They work short all the time. Ang ratio ng one nurse to the numbers, tumataas din so then exhausted na rin sila, pagod na pagod (Even with my co-workers at the Surrey Memorial Hospital, they are really overworked because they can’t find any nurses. They work short all the time. The ratio of one nurse to the numbers is also high so they are really exhausted, really tired)."

With more than 17,000 healthcare workers calling in sick these last two weeks, the BC Center for Disease Control has issued a new guidance that said those exposed need not isolate, but just self-monitor. Lumamba, who is also a councilmember of the BC Nurses' Union, said the new guidance makes him uneasy.

"Psychologically, kung ang nurse, kung ako ang nurse, kasama ko positive, worried din ako especially we are going to meet by the, by our meal breaks, wala tayong mask, kumakain, syempre concerned ako (Psychologically, if the nurse, if I am the nurse and my co-worker is positive, I will be worried because we will meet each other during our meal breaks, without mask, while eating. Of course I am concerned).

Meanwhile, British Columbia will start allowing youth sports tournaments by next week but will still extend its vaccine card program until June 30. Ontario and Quebec will also start easing restrictions by Monday, starting with the reopening of restaurants and other indoor venues at 50% capacity.