Arrow Lakes Hospital’s emergency rooms are now under renovation, limiting even further how many people could be supported when the coronavirus hits Nakusp. Photo: John Boivin

Arrow Lakes Hospital’s emergency rooms are now under renovation, limiting even further how many people could be supported when the coronavirus hits Nakusp. Photo: John Boivin

Don’t let system get overwhelmed by COVID-19, urges Nakusp doctors

Stay isolated, stay safe, the system can be easily pushed over limit, they say

Doctors in Nakusp are warning residents to protect themselves from the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

While there’s no sign of the virus in the Arrow Lakes area yet, they say it won’t take much for the system here to get overloaded when it does arrive.

Nakusp, says one doctor, has limited resources to manage the virus’ spread.

“The virus is out there, it is going to spread, it is going to go through our communities,” says Dr. Craig Courchesne, a doctor with the Saddle Mountain Medical Clinic. “The key thing now is preventing a very rapid spike in cases that will overwhelm our medical system.”

Courchesne and the village’s other doctors issued a joint statement on Facebook Monday, asking residents not to run to the doctor if they simply feel ill from a flu.

While there is increasing concern about the virus, the doctors say not everyone is going to get tested if they are stuffed up or have a headache.

“The only people we are testing now are people sick enough that they need to be hospitalized, health care workers and people in residential facilities,” he says. “We don’t want anyone coming to the clinic or hospital for testing if they are having minor respiratory symptoms because that will put more people at risk.”

Local treatment limited

Courchesne notes that testing doesn’t really help control or stop the spread of the virus on the ground.

“Right now it is purely academic,” he notes. “It doesn’t change the course of action of the virus, and it doesn’t change what we can do for people. It just gives data of where the virus is.

“So for our community, they’re not doing any favours for themselves or others to come in and have testing done.”

Courchesne also points out there’s no treatment for the illness, especially for mild or moderate cases.

Should there be a case of the virus that requires medical treatment, Courchesne says it’s most likely the patient would be medevaced to Trail, Kelowna or another major centre.

“And even in Trail, we have seven ICU beds, so I can tell you how quickly those will fill up,” he says.

SEE: Three more COVID-19 deaths at BC care home, as number of cases grows to 103

Courchesne points out Arrow Lakes Hospital is already working under reduced capacity.

“Because of our construction we have very limited capacity,” he says. “We are not able to put anyone on ventilators… and I think we have two open in-patient beds at the hospital right now. Overwhelming us would be incredibly easy to do.”

His advice for anyone concerned: isolate yourself.

“Do not congregate in groups, don’t visit anyone or have visitors,” he says. His biggest concern is for seniors.

“There’s no immunity to this virus right now,” he says. “It will spread around, and it’s a problem in the over-70 population where the mortality is higher.”

SEE: Complete Black Press coverage of the COVID-19 pandemic

But, Courchesne emphasizes, there is no need for panic.

“People need to be aware of things that put them at risk, and things that are safe to do,” he says.

You can find more information on what’s safe at the BC Centre for Disease Control’s website.

Locally, Courchesne’s clinic has begun taking phone appointments to keep as many people at home as possible.



reporter@rosslandnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Coronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

Arrow Lakes Hospital’s emergency rooms are now under renovation, limiting even further how many people could be supported when the coronavirus hits Nakusp. Photo: John Boivin

Arrow Lakes Hospital’s emergency rooms are now under renovation, limiting even further how many people could be supported when the coronavirus hits Nakusp. Photo: John Boivin

Just Posted

Interfor’s Castlegar mill is getting $35 million in upgrades. Photo by: John Boivin
Interfor to invest $35 million at Castlegar mill

Project will enhance productivity and competitiveness

A medical worker prepares vials of the COVID-19 vaccines, Chinese Sinopharm, left, Sputnik V, center, and Pfizer at a vaccine centre, in the Usce shopping mall in Belgrade, Serbia, Thursday, May 6, 2021. Serbian authorities are looking for incentives for people to boost vaccination that has slowed down in recent weeks amid widespread anti-vaccination and conspiracy theories in the Balkan nation. The government has also promised a payment of around 25 euros to everyone who gets vaccinated by the end of May. (AP Photo/Darko Vojinovic)
38 new COVID-19 cases, more than 335k vaccines administered in Interior Health

Interior Health also to start targeted vaccinations in high transmission neighbourhoods

FILE PHOTO
Second doses of COVID-19 vaccine will be available, as AstraZeneca supply runs low: Interior Health

Province expecting large volumes of Pfizer BioNTech as age-based cohort immunization program ramps up

The Trail ambassador candidates are taking their talents to the stage Friday night, with the showcase culminating in the crowning of a new Miss Trail, Miss Trail Princess and Miss Congeniality. Photo: Trail Ambassador Programme
Miss Trail 2021 will be crowned Friday night

After the 2020 pageant was cancelled, seven candidates remained for this year’s event

Greg Nesteroff and Eric Brighton, the historians behind popular Facebook page Lost Kootenays, are set to release a book of the same name and have just unveiled its cover showing the ghostly Hotel in Slocan City shortly before its 1953 demolition. Photo courtesy of Greg Nesteroff and Eric Brighton.
Popular historical Facebook page Lost Kootenays set to release book

128-page hard copy documenting history of East and West Kootenays coming this fall

(The Canadian Press)
Trudeau won’t say whether Canada supports patent waiver for COVID-19 vaccines

‘Canada is at the table to help find a solution’

A map showing where the most number of cases were recorded from April 23 to 29. This map, revealing a breakdown of infections by neighborhood, was pulled from a data package leaked to the Vancouver Sun last week (and independently verified).
36 Abbotsford schools flagged for COVID-19 exposures in the last 2 weeks, shattering record

Clearbrook Elementary recorded an ‘exposure’ on all 11 school days

Canada’s chief public health officer is reminding Canadians even those who are fully vaccinated are not immune from transmitting the COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada’s top doctor warns full vaccination does not equal full protection from COVID-19

Post-inoculation, Theresa Tam says the risk of asymptomatic infection and transmission is far lower but not obsolete

The dash cam footage, taken May 7 at 8:18 a.m. belonged to the driver of a southbound vehicle that recently travelled out of the tunnel. (Reddit/Screen grab)
VIDEO: Dash cam captures dramatic rollover crash on Highway 99

Only one person sustained injuries from the collision, says B.C. Ambulance Services

Chevy stranded on a ledge above a rocky canyon at Mimi Falls near Logan Lake, April 28, 2021. (Photo credit: Margot Wikjord)
Police officer and fire chief team up in risky rescue of stranded dog near Logan Lake

Chevy, a rescue dog, needed rescuing again after getting stuck on a ledge above rocky canyon

Police were on the scene of a fatal shooting in Abbotsford. (Black Press Media files)
B.C. government to give more than $8 million for programs to curb gang violence

221 not-for-profit projects led by local governments and school districts among others will receive a one-time grant

Gord Judson steers his log truck down a forest service road, using two-way radio and call signals to mark his position for oncoming traffic. (B.C. Forest Safety Council)
Planning some B.C. wilderness fishing? Don’t catch a log truck

Remote recreation areas bracing for heavy pandemic pressure

Former University of British Columbia student Stephanie Hale, 22. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff Bassett
Human Rights Tribunal to hear complaint against UBC Okanagan for ‘mishandling’ sexual assault report

Stephanie Hale did not return to campus after the student she alleges attacked her was cleared of wrongdoing

Most Read