(Island Health)

At a press conference on Monday, Dr. Bonnie Henry said the burgeoning COVID-19 cases that have prompted a fourth wave have mostly become a pandemic of the unvaccinated.

For one father, that statement is especially poignant as his son battles heart failure at the Royal Jubilee Hospital, and waits for a bed to open up in the ICU.

Victoria Buzz spoke to Kirk Roberts whose 38-year-old son, Joel, suffered a sudden heart failure which has left him in a coma since Saturday night.

Joel, a mine-worker in the Yukon as well as a part-time housekeeper at the Campbell River hospital, was working at the hospital when he suffered his episode.

On Sunday, he was flown to Royal Jubilee hospital from Campbell River where he was admitted to the Coronary Care Unit (CCU) and is on standby for admission to the Intensive Care Unit (ICU).

Unfortunately, beds in the ICU are fully occupied, which Kirk Roberts suspects is due to COVID-19 patients, specifically the unvaccinated.

“He [Joel] is in a coma, and they’ve tried bringing him out. He’s still in CCU, and he’s on a ventilator. He’s just waiting for a bed in the ICU,” Roberts said.

“Before he had his episode, I felt that yes, people need to get vaccinated. But this has made that sentiment stronger. Stop thinking about yourself and start thinking about everyone else.”

While not everyone in an ICU bed is due to COVID-19, currently there are 12 people in ICU due to COVID-19 and 15 people remain in hospital.

The Royal Jubilee Hospital has been one of two hospitals treating COVID-19 patients in the Island Health region.

Victoria Buzz reached out to The Royal Jubilee Hospital to determine how many beds were taken by COVID-19 patients, but did not receive an answer in time for publication.

While there are some breakthrough cases of COVID-19 in fully-vaccinated individuals—most of which are aged 80 and over—almost 70 per cent of cases are among the unvaccinated.


For Roberts, despite the urge for people to get vaccinated, he mostly wants his son to get better, and he’s playing a waiting game on whether his son can get the intensive care he needs.

“The CCU is by no means an ill-equipped environment for him to be. I don’t know what they can do for him in the ICU specifically, but the doctors and nurses tell me they’d like to move him there since it better suits his needs,” Roberts said.

But with ICU beds full at the Royal Jubilee Hospital this is one of many stories that have underscored the COVID-19 pandemic it began last March.

With Canada entering its fourth wave of the COVID-19 pandemic with cases trending upward since the end of July, it’s unclear what more can be done to change the minds of the unvaccinated other than through public perception.

At least, that’s what Roberts hopes.

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